Japan youth star cool on Barca signing | Sunday Observer

Japan youth star cool on Barca signing

Jun Nishikawa
Jun Nishikawa

Japan youth international Jun Nishikawa said Friday he heard Barcelona were keen on signing him through friends but denied there had been any contact from the Spanish giants.

The 17-year-old attacking midfielder, who has represented Japan at the under-17 and under-20 World Cup, told local media his main focus was on nailing down a place at J-League club Cerezo Osaka.

“I read the news on my phone yesterday morning and my friends told me about it, but I didn’t think anything special,” insisted Nishikawa, who won’t become eligible to move overseas until he turns 18 next month, paving the way for a possible summer transfer. Kubo opted to join bitter rivals Real Madrid despite being invited to Barcelona’s youth academy as a scrawny nine-year-old where he earned his nickname for the mazy dribbling skills that made him a YouTube hit.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were also linked to Kubo, who has been loaned out to La Liga rivals Mallorca on a season-long loan by Madrid in order to gain experience.

Kubo marked his full Japan debut last June in a 2-0 friendly win over El Salvador, coming on as a second-half substitute for Takumi Minamino.