Arsenal fans, remember Takuma Asano? He could be a star for Japan at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar this winter.

The Japanese forward was signed by Arsene Wenger in 2016 from J-League side Sanfrecce Hiroshima. The legendary Frenchman described Asano then as a “talented young striker and very much one for the future,” but his chance at Arsenal never came.

However, he has turned his career around over the last few years.

Takuma Asano could star in World Cup
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images


Arsenal flop Takuma Asano could star for Japan at 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Asano joined Arsenal in 2016 but was not granted a work permit. We had to loan him out as a result, and he was sent to German side Stuttgart for a couple of years.

The Japanese forward helped Die Roten achieve promotion back to the Bundesliga during his two years there, and although he only managed 10 direct goal contributions in 45 appearances, he caught the eye.

Asano was then sent out to Hannover on loan in 2018, but that spell was a disaster. He only played 851 minutes due to injuries and other issues, and was sent back to Arsenal at the end of the campaign.

The Gunners then felt Asano was getting nowhere. We decided to get rid of him, and Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade snapped him up in 2019 on a permanent deal.

Takuma Asano could star in World Cup
Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

That’s when Asano’s fortunes completely changed. The Japan forward became a superstar in the Serbian capital, scoring 30 goals and providing 15 assists in all competitions in 77 appearances.

That earned him a move back to Germany with Bochum, where he has been a regular since last year.

Asano is also back in the mix with respect to international football. He has played 14 times for Japan since the start of last year, and he is expected to join Takehiro Tomiyasu in the Japanese squad for the World Cup this winter.

Japan haven’t been lucky with the draw. They’ve been grouped alongside Spain, Germany and Costa Rica, which makes it extremely difficult for them to go through.

However, if Asano can star for Japan at the World Cup and fire them into the knockout stages, the world will stand up and take notice.

Takuma Asano could star in World Cup
Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

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