Takuma Asano has revealed that he is ‘ecstatic’ at how things have turned out for him recently despite being initially unsure about accepting a move to Arsenal because he wasn’t sure about moving abroad.
Currently in Manaus to play for Japan at the Rio Olympics, Asano spoke at length with FIFA.com.
“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 said.
“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.”
Named Young Player of the Year in the J-League in 2015, Asano is now 21 and it’s not yet clear if he will come into the Arsenal first team (work permit allowing) or be sent out on loan which would seem the more likely option.
“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 per cent 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.”
But he’s not thinking about that just now. His attentions are firmly on the upcoming Olympics.
“It’s always been one of my dreams to play in the Olympics,” Asano continued.
“It’s definitely one of the biggest football tournaments in the world. Everyone knows about the tournament. It’s really exciting to be part of it. Ever since I turned professional, my family is always wishing for me to be in the Olympics, so it’s definitely good for my family and myself as well.”
Japan open their tournament against Nigeria and no matter what happens, it looks like he will be keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
“I always thank my parents,” Asano said. “Having many brothers and sisters, they made me humble. Everybody in my family had an opportunity to play football, so definitely I’m thankful to my parents. It just makes me humble.
“Since I’ve been here in Brazil, I’ve already talked with them a few times by video call. They’ll definitely be watching on TV!”