Arsenal: Wenger talks up Japanese Striker; Mustafi on Perez; Sunderland youngster linked
There were a few muffled giggles among the Arsenal fan base when the club signed Japanese striker Takuma Asano earlier this summer, but Arsene Wenger has been signing the striker’s praises.
Asano will spend this summer on loan at Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart, in which time it is hoped he will have accumulated enough caps for Japan to earn a work permit.
The 21-year-old was voted ‘Rookie of the Year’ in the J League last season, scoring nine goals in 34 appearances.
Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, Wenger said: “What I see in him is the quality of his runs, his pace, his body strength and he is quite aggressive.
““You do not find many players today who go behind the defenders at every opportunity.
“I’m personally a strong believer in him, because by coincidence after I bought him I met the national coach of Japan and he is absolutely convinced about him.”
Arsenal’s pursuit of Jamie Vardy and Lucas Perez is evidence that Wenger has been looking for mobile strikers who can run in behind, after some years of reliance on the static Olivier Giroud.
The Gunners also seem to be making a concerted effort to defend from the front and press high, and the hard-working Asano seems another player who can fit this brief.
On the subject of Perez, fellow new boy Shkodran Mustafi has tipped the Spanish striker to impress in the Premier League and cause trouble for defenders.
The former Valencia defender faced Perez in La Liga last season, a season in which he scored 17 league goals for Deportivo.
Mustafi said: “’He’s a good striker – he has everything a striker needs. He’s someone you can play well with. He doesn’t just run around and wait for someone to give him a pass to score a goal.
“He works a lot for the team and he creates chances. He’s in the right place at the right time, as he showed last year in La Liga.”
Finally, Arsenal reportedly have had scouts on Sunderland player Joel Asoro, who made his full debut in the Black Cats’ home defeat to Middlesbrough last month.
Asoro played for Sweden’s Under 21s against Spain on Monday night which was also attended by Newcastle scouts.
He joined Sunderland at the age of 17 from Swedish side IF Bromma but is under contract at the club until 2019.
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