Welcome to Rapid Vienna, Koya Kitagawa!
Transfer news from Hütteldorf: Following days of speculation, Rapid Vienna is delighted to announce that a deal has been reached to bring Koya Kitagawa to the club. The eight-cap Japanese international moves with immediate effect from J1 club Shimizu S-Pulse to Vienna, signing a contract until summer 2023.
Rapid Vienna Sporting Director Zoran Barisic had the following to say: "Koya Kitagawa is a very interesting player that we have been scouting for some time, even during training sessions in Japan. He was set on a move to Rapid and Didi Kühbauer, myself and Didi's trainer team are all convinced that he is going to really strengthen our squad. We're very happy that following hard but fair negotiations with Kitagawa's representatives and his club we've reached an agreement and that Koya has in the meantime completed a medical here in Vienna. He is a genuine team player with an excellent attitude, a technically gifted forward blessed with speed and intelligence. He's two-footed and can play in virtually any attacking position and has done so multiple times for his current club", explained Barisic.
Kitagawa has made 140 competitive appearances for Shimizu S-Pulse, scoring 39 goals. "He plays the game in a selfless manner though, and has had a hand in either assisting or creating many more", added Barisic. The Japanese, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on the weekend (26 July), already has experience of international tournaments under his belt, having been a part of his country's squad for the Asian Cup in January. Kitagawa made five appearances in a centre forward position during the tournament as Japan went on to finish runners-up.
On his move, Rapid's newest recruit said: "I'm incredibly proud to be the first Japanese player to represent Rapid Vienna. I wanted - without question - to move to Europe and I’m really excited that this next step in my career has happened. Now I'm looking forward to the first days with this big club based in world-famous Vienna. Last but not least, I’ve got a positive early impression of the social network around the club and the amazing atmosphere the fans create. I can barely wait to get my first taste of the action in the Green & White colours", said 23-year old Kitagawa.
There might be a short wait, however, until he makes his debut: as a non-EU citizen, Kitagawa has to first be granted a work permit before he can don his new number 32 shirt and take to the field in the Allianz Stadium. All necessary paperwork and applications were completed by club officials immediately after the transfer was finalised.