Basel make Kakitani's dream come true

Japanese striker Yoichiro Kakitani's dream of playing football in Europe has come true, with the 24-year-old agreeing a move from Cerezo Osaka to FC Basel 1893.

Yoichiro Kakitani in training with Japan
Yoichiro Kakitani in training with Japan ©Getty Images

Yoichiro Kakitani is excited to fulfil his dream of playing football in Europe after the Japanese striker agreed to join FC Basel 1893 from Cerezo Osaka.

"I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and Basel's fans," said the 24-year-old, who made two appearances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals. "It is a great honour for me to move there. I want to say thanks to the management of FCB. They've given me the chance to fulfil my dream and play football in Europe. It is my goal to get integrated into the team as quickly as possible and give my best for the club. I am very pleased to be at Basel."

On Cerezo's books since he was four, Kakitani became the youngest player to receive a first-team contract at the club at the age of 16. He has struck 33 times in 77 outings for the club since 2012, having previously been loaned to second-tier Tokushima Vortis. With five goals in 14 international games, he was a long-term target for Basel.

"For half a year we have been making intense efforts to sign Kakitani," said Basel president Bernhard Heusler. "He has been courted by numerous other European clubs, which makes us even more pleased that he chose FCB."

The Swiss champions will start their UEFA Champions League campaign in the group stage.