Takuma Asano may not be a household name, but his performances at the Olympics should have Arsenal fans salivating at the prospect of seeing him in an Arsenal shirt.
Of course, some will think once bitten, twice shy, after Arsenal’s previous Japanese import, Ryo Miyaichi, spent more time in sickbay than on the pitch. However, I did warn everyone who cared to listen or pay attention, that I believed he would be injury-prone. I didn’t want to be proved right.
Fortunately, I’m predicting that Asano will prove to be more physically robust than his compatriot. Asano is certainly built a lot more solidly than Ryo, although I would have to say that I think the latter is marginally quicker. Asano is probably the more skillful of the two, in that he chooses the right options more often than not but, for technical ability, they are on a par with each other.
Of course, we’ve heard that Asano will be loaned out when he eventually arrives, but based on his Olympic performances, maybe Wenger will think again.
A deftly-taken goal after coming on as a substitute against Nigeria, marked Asano’s arrival at the games. Although, he added energy and impetus to a lethargic Japan side, it wasn’t quite enough and his team lost their opener.
Asano scored a cracking goal in the next game, but again Japan disappointed by only managing a draw against Colombia. As in the first game, some crass defending proved to be Japan’s undoing.
In the Colombia game, Asano took a knock, which adversely affected his performance in the final game against Sweden. He was taken off after 60 minutes, as Japan laboured to victory.
All in all though, we should not lose sight of the fact that Asano was one of the shining lights of the Olympic group stages. Once Arsenal fans see him, they’ll feel more pleased with Arsenal’s summer business than many feel currently.