Kawashima admits interest in Milan, would relish opportunity to fight for a role in the team

After two years with Belgium's Lierse, the Japan international will be a free agent in June and has set his sights on joining a Serie A club in the summer transfer window
Lierse goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima on Thursday declared his interest in joining AC Milan, declaring that he was not afraid of having to compete for a spot on the bench.

The Japan international met with club directors earlier this week and is thought to be shopping himself to Serie A clubs in preparation for his contract's expiry in June.

"It's a wonderful feeling [to have my name attached to Milan]," Kawashima told Calcio Mercato. "Milan is a big club known throughout the world. It's a very strong team and it'd be fun to play there one day."

Kawashima would be a hypothetical third in the team's current depth charts, but the potential departure of Marco Amelia and the increasing age of long-time goalkeeper Christian Abbiati could lead the way to a backup or even starting role.

"I'm aware that Abbiati is the holder, and he's a very strong goalkeeper, but nothing scares me," Kawashima said of the potential struggle. "There's competition in every team, and I think Milan is the same.

"I have the utmost respect for the Rossoneri's goalkeepers; if there's a chance to wear AC Milan's shirt I will try to do my best."

The former Kawasaki Frontale man, who trained with Parma early in his career and can speak Italian in addition to several other languages, also revealed the influence of national team manager Alberto Zaccheroni.

"I haven't spoken to Zaccheroni about joining Milan," he continued, "but he agrees with me that leaving Belgium is the right choice to continue my growth as a player."

Kawashima also gave his metaphorical seal of approval to countrymen Shinji Kagawa and Gotoku Sakai, who are also reportedly on Milan's radar.

"They know European football, which has allowed them to make the leap [from Japan]," he explained. "They're happy in Germany right now, but I wouldn't rule out a future for them [in Italy]."

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