J2 League side Kyoto Sanga on Friday afternoon announced the transfer of midfielder Masaya Okugawa to Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg.
The 19-year-old, touted for his speed, dribbling technique, and accurate kicks from either foot, reportedly attracted interest from Liverpool and was widely expected to go abroad this summer.
The “Neymar of the Old Capital,” as Okugawa is referred to by Japanese press, has represented Japan in the Under-17, Under-18, and Under-19 categories in the last two years. In his debut professional season he has made three appearances for 16th-place Sanga as well as four appearances for the Under-22 Selection who play in the J3 League.
“I would like to deeply thank everyone who has helped me at Kyoto Sanga since junior high school, including my managers, coaches, teammates, and club staff,” Okugawa said in a statement. “I hope that by playing in Europe and growing into a player capable of representing Japan, I can repay those who have supported me.”
Okugawa will join former Cerezo Osaka striker Takumi Minamino, who scored three goals in 14 appearances since arriving in January, at Salzburg, who completed a domestic double for the second year in a row by winning Wednesday’s Austrian Cup final over Austria Wien.
The player is scheduled to appear in his final match for Sanga on June 14 when they welcome Yokohama FC in the J2 League’s 18th round.