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Sakai leaves Japan for Hannover

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Jun 2012

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Defender Hiroki Sakai is bound for Hannover after the Bundesliga club agreed on transfer terms with reigning J.League champions Kashiwa Reysol.

The 22-year-old right-back will join on a three-year contract, for which Reysol will receive an estimated one million euros in transfer fees, Japanese media reported on Saturday.

Expected to participate in the London Olympics, Sakai made his debut for Japan in a May friendly against Azerbaijan before coming on as a substitute in his team’s 3-0 victory against Oman last Sunday in the final round of World Cup qualifying.

“Out of all the teams that made offers, (Hannover) has been interested since last winter so I feel comfortable with them,” Sakai told reporters after watching Friday night’s 6-0 win over Jordan from the bench.

“It’s a new start for me, but even when I go overseas I’ll still play hard to represent Reysol.”

The player will travel with Japan to Brisbane, where the current Group B leaders will play Australia on Tuesday night.

The transfer is expected to be officially announced next week, with a press conference scheduled after the J.League resumes play on June 16.

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