Japan striker Kakitani joins Basel

The 24-year-old turned down the opportunity to join Fiorentina in January but has now decided to link up with the Swiss champions, calling time on his spell at Cerezo Osaka
Basel have announced the signing of Japan striker Yoichiro Kakitani from Cerezo Osaka for a reported £1.5 million fee.

The 24-year-old has been targeted by European clubs since his breakout 21-goal season in 2013, but declined to join Italy's Fiorentina in January.

After making his senior debut for Japan a year ago, Kakitani became a regular starter under Alberto Zaccheroni. But a poor 2014 season, combined with the rise of 1860 Munich attacker Yuya Osako's stock, saw the Cerezo man watch most of Japan’s World Cup campaign from the bench.

“I love Cerezo and I wanted to win a title together with my team-mates,” said Kakitani. “But I've been given another opportunity to play overseas, and after the disappointing World Cup I gave it a lot of consideration and decided to challenge myself at FC Basel.

"Cerezo have a number of players who can excel at striker. I hope they'll continue to shine as a team, and I'll try to play even harder [in Switzerland]."

Kakitani will greet supporters following Cerezo's match on July 15 against Kawasaki Frontale before flying to Switzerland in time for the new season.