Arsenal’s long-awaited pursuit of a world-class centre-forward has apparently come to an end this summer with the recent acquisition of Alexandre Lacazette. The 26-year-old Frenchman arrives in North London with plenty of impressive attributes tethered to his name, including a keen eye for goal and some remarkably sharp movement inside the final third.
The Gunners could easily find themselves residing back among the upper echelons of the English top-flight should Lacazette begin to thrive among his newfound employers. With the former Ligue 1 favourite on board at their club, Arsenal’s immediate future suddenly looks a whole lot brighter.
Yet whilst Arsene Wenger will be keen to showcase his latest import from the French top-flight among the Premier League this season, perhaps the Gunners currently play host to another – albeit lesser known striking talent, who with a little faith and healthy encouragement pointed in his direction, could possibly serve improve Arsenal’s overall goal-scoring output in the not too distant future.
He may be yet to register a single minute of competitive top-flight football for Arsene Wenger’s side despite signing at the Emirates little over a year ago – but in Japan’s Takuma Asano, Arsenal arguably possesses a secret striking weapon who will soon find himself capable of impressing the Gunners faithful.
Takuma Asano is a mobile frontman possessing the ability to find space in and around the opposition’s back-line. Like Lacazette, the 22-year-old Japanese international thrives on creating chances with his intelligent movement behind enemy lines and confident style in one-on-one scenarios.
The former J-League star is yet to stake his claim down in North London of course. Asano was forced out on loan last season due to several work-permit related issues denying him access to play on these here shores – but despite the initial setback within his early career upon the European stage, he eventually showed glimpses of his prospering talent amid the German game with VfB Stuttgart.
Although the up and coming Japanese striker only managed to register a modest four goals in 26 league appearances for Die Roten last term, many Stuttgart fans found themselves resoundingly impressed by the on-loan Arsenal man as he helped their side achieve immediate promotion to the German top-flight. Now, after seeing his hopes of obtaining that all-important work permit rebutted once more, Asano looks set the remain at the Mercedes-Benz Arena for Stuttgart’s comeback season among the Bundesliga.
Draxler set to leave PSG. Alexis not agreeing to sign a new contract. You know what that means?
Welcome to Arsenal, Takuma Asano.
— Arbaaz (@afcArbaaz) August 17, 2017
It’s seemingly easy to cast the 22-year-old striker aside as little more than a smoke and mirrors type of signing, one completed solely with the aim of promoting Arsenal’s status within the Japanese market in order to boost the club’s global commercial appeal.
It wouldn’t be the first time the Gunners have sought to apply themselves in such a way, for keen Premier League onlookers need only cast their minds back as far as the summer of 2011 – where South Korean international, Park Chu-Young, was captured at the Emirates in remarkably similar circumstances with little top-flight success.
But whilst Asano clearly has it all to prove before marking himself out as one of the most exciting young talents to stake his claim at the Emirates, several vocal Arsenal fans believe the Japanese international to be more than capable of scoring goals at their club. He’s just going to have to showcase his talents a little more enthusiastically whilst operating out on loan at Stuttgart, that’s all…
Whether it be through his rapid turn of pace inside the final third, those deceptively quick-feet alongside onrushing defenders, or simply his calm knack for finishing in surprisingly uncertain situations – this is one player who is beginning to receive positive recognition among the Japanese game and beyond.
The ruthless trials and tribulations of Premier League football will obviously prove rather testing for Takuma Asano one way or another, but as the former Sanfrecce Hiroshima ambassador has seemingly done enough to warrant another term out on the loan among the German game with Stuttgart, perhaps Arsenal fans could soon see this latest Japanese import operating alongside Alexandre Lacazette among the Gunners firing front-line.
Hype is building for the eventual Alexandre Lacazette-Takuma Asano strike partnership
— Callum Mackenzie (@callumlarr) July 5, 2017
If Asano starts scoring goals whilst representing his nation at the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer – surely Arsene Wenger will be tempted to drag the up and coming Japanese star to North London and finally get him playing in front of the proud Emirates faithful. At this particular stage in the ongoing proceedings, Japan’s fast emerging secret weapon is ready and lying in wait.