Kyosuke Tagawa's Hearts transfer secures a multi-talented forward with suitable energy for Tynecastle Park

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Reaction to the player’s exit from FC Tokyo underlines his status as a fans’ favourite in Japan

The fanfare which greeted Kyosuke Tagawa’s return to Japan earlier this month was fairly euphoric. A loan spell at the Portuguese Primeira Liga side Santa Clara completed, FC Tokyo confirmed Tagawa was coming home with an announcement akin to a new signing. There was even a Youtube video produced of his best moments as supporters reacted excitedly at the thought of seeing the popular forward back at his parent club.

“I am Kyosuke Tagawa and I am returning to FC Tokyo,” said Tagawa on July 11. “I will do my best to contribute to the team with the experience I gained in Portugal! I am very happy to be able to fight together with the fans and supporters in Tokyo again. Thank you for your support!”

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Now, just 19 days later, he is gone again. This time it’s permanent. Hearts have agreed a deal to bring the 24-year-old Japanese internationalist to Scotland six months before his Tokyo contract was due to expire. Swapping the J-League for the Jambos prompted another statement, this time with an apology included.

“I have decided to transfer to Heart of Midlothian FC,” said Tagawa. “First of all, I would like to express my sincere apologies to the fans and supporters of FC Tokyo who warmly welcomed my return, as I will be transferring immediately.

“I am also filled with gratitude towards the team officials who respected my wishes and supported me. Just when I was determined to start from scratch and do my best, I received an offer and couldn’t give up on my dream of challenging myself overseas, so I made this decision. I will do my best to show you a stronger and more grown-up version of myself. Thank you very much.”

The attributes which endeared this versatile attacker to Tokyo aficionados are also likely to prove popular in Gorgie. He can operate out wide but was frequently deployed as a central striker by both Tokyo and Santa Clara. He plays on the shoulder of defenders with an industrious aggression and energy which makes him an absolute pest to opponents.

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Like most Japanese, Tagawa is technically very astute. He takes the ball into feet in tight areas with his back to goal and has the ability to turn quickly and shoot. A high work rate sees him constantly harass defenders to put them under pressure. It is the kind of endeavour Hearts supporters enjoy.

FC Tokyo forward Kyosuke Tagawa is set to move to Scotland to join Hearts.FC Tokyo forward Kyosuke Tagawa is set to move to Scotland to join Hearts.
FC Tokyo forward Kyosuke Tagawa is set to move to Scotland to join Hearts.

Importantly, there is also a reasonable physical presence. Standing just half an inch under six feet, Tagawa should be able to hold his own against some of the more uncompromising Scottish Premiership defenders. He won 64 per cent of aerial duels at Santa Clara last season.

He has not been a prolific goalscorer in his career so far, however. The goals to games ratio is doubtless something the Japanese internationalist will want to improve given he has not managed to reach double figures in league strikes during a single campaign.

Relegation to Portugal’s second tier with Santa Clara in May will have knocked his confidence to an extent, although the welcome back in Tokyo would have lifted anyone’s spirits. He will arrive in Scotland early next month and await UK visa approval before starting his Tynecastle career in earnest.

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