One of the few Asian nations to have a good representation in European football is Japan. Players like Keisuke Honda, Shinji Okazaki, Shinji Kagawa, Ritsu Doan, and others have all played for European clubs in the past. And one more Blue Samurai set to join the exclusive club is Gen Shoji, who has been snapped up by French club Toulouse.
Kashima Antlers revealed that an agreement has been reached for the transfer of Gen Shoji to French Ligue 1 club Toulouse.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached the basic agreement among the clubs regarding full transfer to Mr. (Gen Shoji’s) French department in Toulouse FC. In the future, formal contracts are scheduled to be concluded through medical checks etc in France,” read a statement on Kashima Antlers’ club website.
Speaking to the club website, the player himself addressed his impending move to France:
“Thank you for eight years! Thank you for taking 6 titles in 8 years, it may be less in Kashima, but I am proud that I got a title with you.”
The Japan international even revealed that he had an offer to move abroad after the World Cup but decided to stay with Kashima Antlers and help them win a title. He finished by thanking everyone in his ‘Kashima family’.
2018 was a memorable year for Gen Shoji. The 26-year-old found himself in the 23-man shortlist for the FIFA World Cup in Russia and was the first choice centre-back on three of Japan’s four matches.
On a domestic level, Shoji helped Kashima Antlers finish third in the J-League while winning the AFC Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.
Shoji will complete his impending move to France after going through a medical examination and signing the contract.