New Arsenal signing Takuma Asano has revealed that he was initially uncertain as to whether or not he should join the Gunners this summer. The former Sanfrecce Hiroshima striker is currently away at the Olympics, where yesterday (4 August) he helped Japan's U23 side begin their quest for men's football gold scoring with a clever back-heel during a thrilling but ultimately disappointing 5-4 Group B opening defeat to Nigeria at Arena da Amazonia in the northern Brazilian city of Manaus.
The Rio Games form part of a memorable summer for Asano, who scored 11 goals in 56 J-League appearances and won two domestic titles before following Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka as Arsenal's second summer signing early last month. Arsene Wenger described the 21-year-old as "very much one for the future" upon confirmation of his arrival in north London, but the move may not have happened at all were it not for the advice of those closest to him.
"I've always wanted to play abroad and I had a few offers before but I was never sure if I should go or not," Asano told Fifa.com "Once I was called up for the top national team where there are a lot of players playing abroad. Playing with them made me think that I also want to play and challenge in a foreign league. And then I had the offer from Arsenal. Of course, I was still not sure whether to go or not. I talked with my family and friends and felt good about the decision after talking with them."
The player has gone from strength-to-strength during his short career so far, being named the J League Rookie of the Year in 2015 and making a senior international debut last August. His involvement at the Olympics, where Japan are hoping to improve upon their defeat to South Korea in the bronze medal match at London 2012, will rule him out of the early stages of the Premier League campaign, although Asano still seems uncertain if he figures in Wenger's first-team plans this term.
"I'm ecstatic about everything. With the Olympics and also for Arsenal—I'm still not sure if I'll actually play for Arsenal right away in the coming season, but definitely I'll try my best. My motto is to give 100% for what's ahead of myself, so I just want to give my best to everything, whether it be for the Olympics or the new season. Even for my career after the Olympics, I definitely want to try to make the top national team."