Video Evidence: Takayuki Morimoto (Manchester United)

Well the transfer window has closed but the madness has not. To the papers and Sky Sports News all that the closure means is that it is time to ferment some new transfer gossip to prepare us all for the winter transfer window.

Sky Sports reports that Catania’s general manager Pietro Lo Monaco claims that Sir Alex Ferguson is a fan of their Japanese striker Takayuki Morimoto and managed to turn an innocuous statement into a transfer rumour. This is a fish and chip story if ever we heard one, but on the off chance that he may end up at the Red Devils or some other English club (Everton and Manchester City were linked with him earlier this year) here is his profile.

Morimoto was a prodigious talent in Japan making his J. League debut for Tokyo Verdy 1969 at the tender age of 15, becoming the youngest ever J League player. He is also the youngest ever J.League goal scorer netting two days before his 16th birthday. Both these feats contributed to him winning the J League’s Young Player of the Year Award in 2004. In all he made 45 appearances for the club, scoring 5 goals.

European clubs began hovering over the Japanese striker, which led to Tokyo Verdy agreeing a one-year loan deal with Serie A side Catania. He made his debut in Italy as a substitute and scored the equalising goal against Atlanta. Despite only making five appearances during the season the Japanese striker did enough to impress the manger and he signed a permanent three-year deal. In his three seasons at the club he has made 43 appearances and scored 10 goals, 9 of which came in the 23 games he played last season, not a bad return for a 21 year old.

The striker has been compared to Ronaldo (the Brazilian version). He is predominantly right footed although if a chance presents itself he will have a crack with his left. His legs are similar to Ronaldo’s before the multiple operations on his knees in that they seem to be made of elastic and extend and snap back into place in one flowing movement.

He enjoys playing on the shoulder of the last defender and running into space, he is not the man to link defence and attack nor is he great in the air. Morimoto suffered a right knee injury which left him on the treatment table for 18 weeks in 2007.

United have Rooney, Owen and Berbatov all of which will start or be on the bench. Behind them lie Danny Wellbeck who Fergie has tipped to go to the World Cup and Federico Macheda a striker who is very highly regarded by the coaching staff. Ferguson will not want to stunt their growth. Further down the line there are numerous Brazilians and Serbians all of whom play upfront.

This embarrassment of riches means that a new striker at United is unlikely. With 18 months to go on his contract it seems as the Italian club are putting the youngster up for auction. Morimoto is a marketer’s wet dream, he is good looking and popular in Japan. Shirt sales and lucrative tours in Japan await the team that signs him. A move to the Premier League is possible but it will most likely be to a club just beneath the top four.

Video evidence of Takayuki Morimoto can be seen here.