Fernando Torres to Japan: All you need to know about Sagan Tosu

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Spaniard Fernando Torres became the J1 League’s latest high-profile signing on Tuesday when he signed for Sagan Tosu on a free transfer.

Torres becomes the third FIFA World Cup winner to currently ply his trade in Japan, following in the footsteps of compatriot Andres Iniesta and former Germany international Lukas Podolski.

But while Iniesta and Podolski both play for the fairly recognised Vissel Kobe, not many people outside of Japan would be familiar with Sagan Tosu, or have even heard of them before.

Here, FOX Sports Asia brings you all you need to know about Torres’ new club.

Who exactly are Sagan Tosu?

Founded in 1997, Sagan Tosu spent their early years playing in the second-tier of Japanese football before earning promotion at the end of 2011.

Since then, they have spent the last six seasons in the J1 League but are yet to win any silverware.

Also, while they do not have a ‘Liverbird” like Torres’ old club Liverpool, their club emblem does feature a local magpie knows as a “kachigarasu”.

So, can we expect Torres to fire them to glory any time soon?

Unfortunately, Torres’ immediate priority will be to help Sagan preserve their top-flight status, with the club currently lying in relegation zone having picked up just three wins from their opening 15 matches.

Considering they have never finished lower than 12th since their inaugural J1 campaign in 2012, the club will be desperate to survive the drop and how fast Torres can click with his new team-mates will be crucial.

Well, that’s a bummer. Will he at least be living in a nice place?

In the exact words of Wikipedia, “Tosu is a city located in the eastern part of Saga Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan”.

Kyushu, in general, is known to be a haven for hot springs, great food and scenic views of nature. So Torres will definitely be able to enjoy the local cuisine and enjoy some pampering after a tiring day of training.

Will Torres have any famous team-mates?

The other one that fans might be familiar with is Colombian Victor Ibarbo, who made over 100 Serie A appearances for Cagliari, and also had spells with Roma and Watford.

Sagan’s others foreigners are three South Koreans – Kim Min-hyeok, Jeong Seung-hyun and An Yong-woo.

As for established locals he now shares the dressing room with, goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda represented Japan at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup and 2012 Olympic Games, while winger Koki Mizuno spent time with Scottish giants Celtic.

Finally, when’s the first time Torres will be in action for his new club?

Sagan Tosu fans won’t have to wait long to see their new marquee signing in action.

Following the mid-season break, Sagan are back in action on Wednesday (July 11) with an Emperor’s Cup clash against Tokushima Vortis.

Should Torres not make it in time to feature in that match, then the next chance he will get is on July 18 when Sagan resume their J1 League campaign away to Shonan Bellmare.

Photo credit: Sagan Tosu

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