Soccer

Shoya Nakajima says 'everything attractive' about new club Al-Duhail

Kyodo

Winger Shoya Nakajima said Tuesday he is eager to get on the pitch following his reported record transfer to Qatari first-division club Al-Duhail.

The club announced their acquisition of Nakajima from Portuguese top-flight side Portimonense on Sunday. His contract runs for four and a half years, according to the Qatari side.

Al-Duhail have reportedly paid 35 million euros ($40 million) for Nakajima, a record for the transfer of a Japanese player, outstripping the roughly $29 million Parma paid Italian rivals Roma for Hidetoshi Nakata in 2001.

In his first press conference since arriving in Qatar, Nakajima said he was excited about the transfer, which followed interest from several other clubs.

“I made the decision because everything about the club was attractive,” the 24-year-old attacker said.

Al-Duhail are in second place, two points behind leaders Al Sadd after the first 15 matches in the Qatari Star League. They will play their first game at home on Feb. 16 after the league resumes from a two-month break.

“It’s important to show what I can do on the pitch. I want to contribute in every match,” Nakajima said as he revealed the No. 10 jersey he will wear for the club.

After being left out of the squad for last summer’s World Cup, the former FC Tokyo player has emerged as one of Japan’s next generation of stars under new manager Hajime Moriyasu.

He was selected for the Japanese squad for the just-concluded Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates, but withdrew due to a calf injury. Qatar won the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Japan in the final.

The tournament’s most valuable player, Qatar striker Almoez Ali, is among Nakajima’s new teammates at Al-Duhail.