Rumours in the Italian press that Sir Alex Ferguson is planning to increase the Japanese contingent at Old Trafford are not as implausible as they first appear.
United have been liked with a move for FC Tokyo’s midfield enforcer Hideto Takahashi in the January transfer window, and the 24-year-old may prove to be an inexpensive gamble for the Red Devils.
Takahashi, who is valued at £2m, would offer United cover in holding midfield without excessive demands of first team football – a Ji Sung Park mark II if you like.
Additionally the Japanese international can also play at centre back, and considering the injury troubles that United have had over the past year, the introduction of a player like Takahashi could be an invaluable asset to Ferguson as he plans to recapture the Premier League title from rivals City.
Cynics would say that United are only interested in signing Takahashi to bolster shirt sales in the Far East. Yet the summer capture of the Golden Boy of Japanese football, Shinji Kagawa, would perhaps suggest that United already have their shirts sold in the Asian market.
Interest in Takahashi, should it prove to be genuine, could yet again be a sign of Ferguson’s ability to going to bargain hunting in the transfer market.