Arsenal have confirmed that Japanese attacker Takuma Asano has left the Gunners for Serbian team Partizan Belgrade. Asano had joined the North London outfit from the Japanese club Sanfrecce Hiroshima in July 2017, but was immediately loaned out to German club VFB Stuttgart.
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The Japanese attacking midfielder spent two seasons at Stuttgart, before he joined Hannover on a season-long loan in 2018-19.
The heart of the matter
Arsenal's statement regarding Asano's move was as follows:
Takuma Asano has joined Serbian Super Liga side Partizan Belgrade. Everyone at Arsenal wishes Takuma the best for his future. The deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.
With regards to the transfer fee, The Gunners did not state how much Partizan paid for the midfielder. However, it has been confirmed by Arseblog that the Serbian side will pay Arsenal £1 million for the attacker in three separate installments.
Although Arsenal only confirmed the deal today, Asano actually turned up at Partizan on Saturday. The Japanese footballer celebrated his move on social media by stating:
I see you have high hopes and expectations of me and I'm honored. I did not reach my maximum in Germany, I want to develop as a player in Belgrade. I want to score as many goals as possible.
Asano also talked about his lack of English speaking ability but his willingness to improve:
Today I met my teammates, they all greeted me in English, but I couldn't answer them. This is something I want and need to be better at.
It is very possible that the club's fans will get to see him make his debut in Thursday's Europa League game against Turkish side Malatyaspor.
Asano's chances at Arsenal were understandably limited given the existing competition for attacking positions, and manager Unai Emery heads into the new season with plenty of options following the club record £72 million signing of right-winger Nicolas Pépé.
'The Gunners' are also hoping to strengthen their defensive options, with Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney still a target. Furthermore, they are seeking cover at centre-back with William Saliba not being able to join the club until next summer. Meanwhile the role of centre-halves Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi going forward remains to be seen.
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