Japanese sensation Ritsu Doan has arrived in Groningen on loan from Gamba Osaka and is expected to take the Eredivisie by storm.

  • By Michael Bell
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Doan was handed his debut with Gamba Osaka as a 16-year-old in a 3-2 win over FC Seoul in the Asian Champions League after several impressive performances in the club’s academy and the Japanese U16 national team. He made three further first team appearances during the 2015/16 campaign but his reputation grew in the club’s reserve side where Doan scored seven goals and contributed ten assists. He has since went on to make 25 appearances for the Gamba Osaka first team, scoring four times.

He was selected for the Japan squad taking part in the U20 World Cup earlier this summer, and Doan starred with three goals in four matches as his nation reached the quarter-finals. The midfielder’s performances during the tournament impressed the official FIFA website, who called Doan the “Japanese Messi.”

After the tournament club’s began to line up for the youngster with PSV, Ajax and Monaco all credited with an interest in Doan, but it was Groningen who swooped. They have signed Doan on an initial year-long loan deal with the option to make the move permanent. The excitement at his arrival has grown through pre-season with Doan netting three times in four warm-up matches.

Style of play

Doan is an incredibly versatile talent who has not yet been held down into one position. For Gamba Osaka he played across the midfield, while so far in pre-season Groningen have used him on the wing. Doan is quick, technically excellent on the ball and has a lethal left foot. His future probably lies in the number ten position where he can use his speed and dribbling ability to create space around the box, but Groningen are likely to keep him on the wing while he adapts to the Eredivisie.

What to expect from Doan this season

Groningen will be hoping for fireworks from their new signing who has arrived from Japan with a big reputation as one of his countries biggest talents. He will be eager to showcase his ability in order to earn a permanent move to Europe next summer and the club’s fans should be excited about what he can bring to the club after a disappointing campaign last year.

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