German football powerhouse Borussia Dortmund has announced the loan signing of 17-year-old Japanese midfielder Mitsuro Marouka from J-league club Cerezo Osaka. He will be joining the team on his 18th birthday on January 6, 2014, becoming the second Japanese player from the Osaka club to play for last season’s Champions League finalists.
Marouka will not be playing for the first team though, not just yet. He will be trained by playing in the team’s reserve side in the German Bundesliga’s third division. But his contract includes an option to sign him permanently if the loan spell proves to be successful when the deal expires in June 2015. He is following in the steps of former Osaka and J-league player and Samurai Blue star Shinji Kagawa, who signed with Dortmund in 2010 and helped the team win the German title in 2011 and 2012. Kagawa now plays for English side Manchester United and his difficulties in fitting in the English Premiere League and his club has been well-documented.
However, given Kagawa‘s brilliant reputation when he played with Dortmund, there is much expectation for the young Marouka. He becomes the second Asian player to move to the Bundesliga just this week, after Bayer Leverkusen signed 20-year-old South Korean Seung-Woo Ryu, a star at the under-20 World Cup. But the two can’t hold a candle to another big European signing from Asia, at least age-wise. 9-year-old boy wonder Takuhiro Nasai was snapped up by the youth team of Spanish giants Real Madrid earlier this year.
[ via ESPN ]