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Arsenal sign Takuma Asano -- 5 things to know about the Japan striker

Takuma Asano Japan
Takuma Asano will likely move out on loan next season.

Takuma Asano is far from the household name that Arsenal fans had been hoping for this summer as Arsene Wenger tries to strengthen his attacking options for next season.

However, they may have to wait a while before seeing the 21-year-old Japan striker play at the Emirates, as Arsenal are likely to loan him out for at least a season before making him part of any first-team plans.

He is not a replacement for Jamie Vardy -- who opted to snub the Gunners and stay at Leicester -- but here are five things to know about the club's second signing of the summer.

He uses pace, not power

Much like Vardy, Asano relies on his searing pace to beat defenders. But, unlike the Leicester striker, he only measures 5-foot-6, making him quite short for a central striker.

Asano compensates for his lack of height with quick feet that make him difficult for any defender to handle one-on-one, and has shown the cool composure in front of goal that's the hallmark of most natural finishers. He won't offer much in terms of an aerial threat in the box, but also has the ability to play in a wide position where he can harass defenders down the flanks.

According to reports from Japan, he has been clocked running 50 meters in 5.9 seconds -- which puts him in the same league as Arsenal speedsters Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott. By comparison, Bellerin broke Walcott's club record of running 40 meters in 4.78 seconds last year.

He helped his club win the league

Asano had his breakthrough season last year as helped Sanfrecce Hiroshima win the J-League by scoring nine goals in 34 appearances. Perhaps not the kind of numbers that will intimidate Premier League defences, but enough to be named to league's Rookie of the Year. In total, he has scored 21 goals in 83 games in all competitions for the Japanese club. That includes four goals in five games in the domestic cup last year.

He is a full international with Japan

Asano's club form was rewarded with his first call-up to the Japan squad last year, and he has earned five caps for the national team so far - scoring once in a 7-2 win over Bulgaria last month.

Arsenal fans will probably be able to watch him play at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, as he is part of Japan's provisional squad. He has already excelled at the under-23 level, scoring twice in the final of the Asian Championships this year as Japan beat South Korea 3-2.

He is one for the future

It's fairly clear that Arsenal view the forward as a prospect rather than the finished article.

"Takuma is a talented young striker and very much one for the future. He has had an impressive start to his career in Japan and we look forward to him developing over the next couple of years," Wenger said in a club statement announcing the signing.

In other words, don't expect him to offer immediate competition to Olivier Giroud at the Emirates, and don't expect Wenger to stop looking for a striker who can come in and make an impact next season. Asano is likely to spend next season on loan somewhere else and already seems braced for that reality.

"If I am loaned elsewhere, my take on it is that I give it 100 percent," he was quoted as saying by Kyodo News on Thursday after reports came out about Arsenal's bid. "I was a little stunned [about the interest]. But I feel like I have the confidence to succeed wherever I go."

He has his own goal celebration

Like many strikers, Asano has a signature goal celebration, though we're not quite sure about this one. Nicknamed "The Jaguar" because of his speed, he has adopted a celebration to match the moniker -- holding up both hands and shaping all 10 fingers into claws after every goal he scores. Perhaps not the most intimidating gesture, but fans at the Emirates will likely warm to it if they see it often enough.

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.


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