Arsenal have signed Japan forward Takuma Asano from J-League side Sanfrecce Hiroshima, subject to the completion of a medical and regulatory processes. The 21-year-old has won five caps for Japan since making his debut in August 2015 and is set to take part in the Rio Olympics next month. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger told the club’s official website: “Takuma is a talented young striker and very much one for the future. “He has had an impressive start to his career in Japan and we look forward to him developing over the next couple of years.” Takuma signed for Sanfrecce Hiroshima as an 18-year-old in January 2013 and went on to make 56 appearances, scoring 11 goals.
Arsenal fans have spent much of the summer waiting for the arrival of a new striker. However, it’s fair to say that when the club announced the acquisition of Japanese forward Takuma Asano, the news was not exactly met with widespread glee. Even in his native Japan, this deal has come as something of a surprise. Asano, 21, is a young talent with a burgeoning reputation, but not many onlookers expected him to make a leap to the Premier League any time soon. For Arsenal supporters, Asano’s signing represents a classic public relations stunt. The club are badly in need of a new central attacker to support the inconsistent Olivier Giroud and replace the injured Danny Welbeck. That they signed a relative unknown is almost comically predictable. It is somewhat reminiscent of the summer of 2011, when chief negotiator Dick Law spent much of his time embroiled in a bid to sign Costa Rican teenager Joel Campbell rather than focusing on replacing Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
Much like Campbell, Asano is unlikely to qualify for a work permit right away. He’ll have to spend at least a couple of seasons on loan, making this a signing for the future that has little potential to benefit the first-team any time soon. Throw in the very public failed pursuit of Jamie Vardy and it’s easy to see why the Gunners’ fans are feeling a little frustrated. Arsenal looked to have stolen a march on their rivals with the early purchase of Granit Xhaka in May, but more than a month has passed since that deal was announced with little progress.