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Japan's Yoshida Set For Saints

PUBLISHED

16:29 30th August 2012

Saints are delighted to announce that Japanese international defender Maya Yoshida has agreed to join the Club from Dutch side VVV-Venlo.

The 24-year-old will sign a three-year deal at St Mary's after an undisclosed fee was agreed between the two clubs.

Yoshida's move is now waiting on him being given entry clearance while his work permit has already been granted by the Home Office.

"To come to the Premier League was one of my biggest dreams since I was a child," Yoshida said after agreeing to join the Club. 

"I am very grateful to be able to become a Saint and I will do my best for the team and for the supporters.

"I saw a video of the recent history of Southampton since the takeover, which showed me the great supporters when the club was promoted last season. 

"I want to show them what I can do as soon as possible and hopefully impress them with my performances."

First Team Manager Nigel Adkins welcomed his new defender to St Mary's, saying: "We are delighted to bring in Maya to the Club.

"He is a centre-half who is comfortable on both the right- and left-hand side as he is good with both feet and has a good physical presence about himself.

"We are really looking forward to working with him here at Southampton."

Maya was this morning named in the Japan squad for a friendly against the United Arab Emirates in Niigata on 6th September and subsequent 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier versus Iraq in Saitama five days later.

He will then become the second Japanese player in the Saints squad when he links up with national team colleague Tadanari Lee on the south coast after the international break.

In Profile: Maya Yoshida

Yoshida has been capped 17 times by his country, and was named as their captain at this summer's 2012 London Olympic Games.

The centre-back played in every game of his side's involvement in the tournament as they reached the last four, scoring in their quarter-final win over Egypt in front of more than 70,000 spectators at Old Trafford.

But Yoshida did not take home a medal from the games as Japan were beaten 2-0 by South Korea in their Bronze Medal Match in Cardiff.

Nagasaki-born Maya began his footballing career with J. League side Nagoya Grampus, coming through their youth system before making his first-team debut in 2007.

He was named in Japan's squad for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and made his debut for the full international team in a friendly win over Yemen in January 2010.

A year later, Yoshida was selected in the final 23 for Japan's 2011 AFC Asian Cup campaign alongside new Saints teammate Tadanari Lee.

He started all three of the Samurai Blue's group-stage matches but was sent off in their quarter-final win over Qatar.

That meant he missed their semi-final against South Korea, but returned to start in the final versus Australia as Lee scored the winning goal to secure the trophy for Japan.

Yoshida signed for Eredivisie side VVV-Venlo in January 2010 but did not make his debut for his new club until the following season, playing 24 times as they avoided relegation via the play-offs.

2011-12 saw the defender make 37 appearances as V.V.V. again came through a relegation play-off to preserve their Eredivisie status once more.

Yoshida was awarded the Eredivisie Goal of the Season award last year for his acrobatic bicycle kick in a draw with PSV Eindhoven in September – one of five occasions on which he netted for VVV-Venlo.

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