Arsenal signs Japanese Takuma; Chelsea signs Batshuayi

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

On Sunday, London-based club Arsenal F.C. agreed to sign 21-year-old Japanese forward Takuma Asano from Sanfrecce Hiroshima and their city rivals Chelsea F.C. has signed 22-year-old Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi from French club Olympique de Marseille.

Wenger signs Japanese youngster

Three years ago, Takuma joined Hiroshima aged 18. Since then, he has scored eleven goals in 56 appearances. Winning the Japanese Super Cup for three consecutive seasons — 2013, 2014 and 2015 — the young forward has also won the J1 League title twice.

Last year Takuma was voted the J.League Rookie of the Year. Making his international debut for Japan eleven months ago, Takuma has made five international appearances and may be part of the national squad for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Takuma would become the third Japanese player to join The Gunners and would become the eighth Japanese to feature in Premiere League.

The arrangement was conditional on Takuma undergoing medical tests before signing. This was Arsène Wenger's second summer signing of 2016 after Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Batshuayi to find his compatriots Hazard and Courtois

Batshuayi made his professional debut five years ago for the Belgian side Standard Liège aged 18. In his third season, he was the league's second-to-top scorer. Two years ago, Batshuayi moved to Marseille. Though Marseille was 13th in the Ligue 1 table last season, the Belgian forward scored 23 goals and provided ten assists in all competition; 17 goals were scored in the Ligue 1 matches.

File photo of Michy Matshuayi, 2014.
Image: bobo_300.

Batshuayi made his international debut last year in March. Batshuayi featured in the Belgian squad in UEFA Euro 2016 and scored one goal against Hungary. With this addition, Chelsea's squad features three Belgians – Batshuayi, winger Eden Hazard, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

After agreeing to the terms, Batshuayi said, "[Fellow Belgium internationals] Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have told me many good things about the club, and with Antonio Conte coming in it's an exciting time to become a Chelsea player." Batshuyi has been allotted jersey number 23.