|By WILL VALLELY
Brisbane Roar have bolstered their ranks for their upcoming A-League title defence, with Japanese defender Yuji Takahashi joining the club on a one-year loan deal from J-League Division 2 side Kyoto Sanga.
Takahashi, 19, provides cover for Roar central defenders Matt Smith and Matt Jurman and completes Brisbane's playing squad for the 2012-13 season.
Takahashi is a versatile defender, capable of playing anywhere in the back four, and has represented his country at both Under-18 and Under-19 levels.
Brisbane Roar coach Rado Vidosic said via statement that Takahashi's talent and versatility provided great cover across the backline.
He fills the final foreign spot in the Roar's squad, as well as that in defence left vacant by the exit of Mohamed Adnan to his native Bahrain at the end of 2011-12 season of due to family reasons.
"With Yuji we'll have three central defenders [Matt Smith and Matt Jurman] and we also have James Donachie and Jason Geria as cover from the National Youth League," Vidosic said.
"He's a young, talented player and he's very good in playing out from the back, so he'll fit in perfectly with our style of play."
Takahashi told Kyoto's website that he joined the Roar to play games and gain experience.
"This transfer came because I strongly want to make appearances. I want to use strengths such as my build-up and heading skills to make an appeal in Australia," he said.
"I want to do my best in order to come back to Nishikyogyoku Stadium and show all of you how I've grown."
Takahashi will hope this experience comes in Brisbane's first game of the new A-League season, against Perth Glory FC at Pattersons Stadium on October 7.