Takuma Asano has been named in Japan’s squad for the AFC Asian Cup, a fact which loan club Hannover 96 aren’t too happy about.
Japan announced their 23-man squad for the tournament on Wednesday, with Asano one of the three forwards named by coach Hajime Moriyasu. They also released the full schedule for the competition, showing that Asano would be on international duty from Wednesday 26th December to Friday 1st February if his country make the final.
Even if they get knocked out in the group stage, Asano will still be away from Hannover until 17th January, and that’s unlikely, with a group involving Turkmenistan, Oman and Uzbekistan.
Hannover boss Horst Heldt has been dealt a double blow, with Genki Haraguchi also set to leave his team for the tournament. He told the media that although it might be a big moment for the players, it “presents [Hannover] with not inconsiderable problems”.
Asano only just returned from injury over the weekend, starting in Hannover’s 1-1 draw with Mainz. Now he could be set to miss three of their next six league games, including matches against league leaders Dortmund, and RB Leipzig.
From an Arsenal point of view, it’s neither here nor there. As long as Asano is playing, that’s the important thing. However, if Hannover avoid selecting the forward because they know he’s going away next month, then it becomes a problem. We’ll see if they pick him to face Bayern Munich on Saturday.
The only Premier League player called up to Japan’s squad is Maya Yoshida of Southampton FC.