As the festive period begins and January approaches the Premier League clubs will be setting their respective transfer campaigns for the upcoming window. Manchester United have been heavily linked with Catania star Takayuki Morimoto, a young striker who has been rather impressive during his time in Sicily. The 21 year old could soon be making moves the Premier League as the Red Devils step up their interest.
The Japanese international has been a regular starter for Catania over the past two seasons, with 2008/09 being his breakthrough year, where he made his name with a string of exciting performances. It has been well documented that United have been watching Morimoto since the tail end of last season, and have continued to monitor his progress this term.
Making his debut for Tokyo Verdy 1969 at the age of 15 years, 10 months and 6 days, a league record for youngest player to play in Japan. He scored his first goal against JEF United Ichihara on May 5th of the same year, two days before his 16th birthday, another record this time for youngest goal scorer.
His move to Catania in 2006 was initially on loan and then made permanent a year later despite rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Since recovering from injury he has gone from strength to strength, 7 goals in 18 starts last term, in addition to a couple of assists.
Morimoto has represented Japan at under 20 level at both the 2004 AFC Youth Championship and the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. He is also a senior international, representing his country in the Beijing Olympics. He has been compared to Brazilian superstar Ronaldo, as he combines a fantastic turn of pace with strength and skill to effortlessly glide past opponents. Milan star Alexandre Pato citing Morimoto as the best young player in Serie A.
Reasons for Sir Alex Ferguson’s interested are numerous, not just his performances, but possibly even the ‘brand value’ he would exude at Old Trafford, giving greater exposure for the big red machine in Japan.
This interest has gone down well with Morimoto, “I have read about the interest from Manchester United in me,” Morimoto said, “I like the Premier League, since I’ve seen it on television,” he continued. If a rumoured price of £8 million is true, then value for money will almost certainly be had.
Could we see the next Japanese star in the Premier League? I think so and very very soon.
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