Soccer

Genki Haraguchi says he’s reached agreement to join Hannover

Kyodo

Japan midfielder Genki Haraguchi confirmed Monday a reported move from Hertha Berlin to Hannover in a transfer deal involving the two Bundesliga clubs.

Speaking to reporters after a pre-World Cup training session at Tivoli Stadium, Haraguchi, who is currently in Austria as Japan prepares for Tuesday’s friendly against Paraguay, said he is close to signing the contract.

“I haven’t signed yet but we’ve reached an agreement and I will be going,” Haraguchi said.

The 27-year-old former Urawa Reds player said he wanted his future to be sorted before the World Cup in Russia kicks off Thursday.

“I wanted to head to the World Cup with a clear mind. I don’t want to think about other things. I was keen on deciding on a club at the right time so I’ll be able to focus on (my role in) the national team,” he said.

Haraguchi will join striker Takuma Asano at Hannover, after the 23-year-old Arsenal player joined the German side on a season-long loan in May. Asano, who spent the last two seasons on loan at Stuttgart, did not make the final cut for Japan’s World Cup squad.