• Kyodo


Japan striker Genki Haraguchi says his rumored transfer to newly promoted English Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion from Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin is still up in the air.

Speaking to reporters at Tokyo’s Haneda airport before leaving for Germany to join up with Hertha for preseason camp on Wednesday, Haraguchi said, “This (the move) is not something I can decide on my own will and to be honest I feel I’m in an awkward position.

“In any case, wherever I am going to be playing, this is the period where you do the groundwork for the year and first of all I have to get my fitness up.

“It is only one year before the World Cup (in Russia) and that is my main target so I want to have a good season,” he said.

Hertha has been trying to tie Haraguchi down to a new contract with his current deal expiring next summer, but the club reportedly withdrew its offer for the 26-year-old, whose talks with the Seagulls have been “promising,” it was reported in May.

Haraguchi, who can operate across attacking midfield or as a forward, moved to Hertha from Urawa Reds in the summer of 2014.

Brighton won promotion to England’s top flight for the first time in 34 years after finishing second in the Championship, missing the title on the last day of the season by a point to Newcastle.

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