Teenage Japan international Takashi Usami is only one step away from signing a deal with Bayern Munich, according to the Japanese media.
The 19-year-old Gamba Osaka attacking midfielder, who is seen as the brightest star of a generation of Japanese young prodigies, has been chased by several European clubs.
However, Bayern appear to be in pole position to secure his services and the news of their interest has been confirmed by both clubs.
‘‘Nothing is finalized yet but [Usami] has a clause in his contract to move if a foreign team comes in for him and we can’t stop him,’’ said Gamba head of team operations Hiroyasu Yamamoto to Kyodo News.
Usami, who is currently training with the Japanese national team ahead of a potential international debut against the Czech Republic, told Kyodo News on Thursday he was keen to head abroad.
‘‘If I have a chance then I want to move to Europe while I am still young but I can’t make any comment [about moving to Bayern],’’ said Usami.
No details have been revealed on the terms yet, but there has been speculation in Japan of a price tag around €5million.
However, Gamba Osaka might prefer to opt for a loan and retain the contractual rights over the player.
Serie A's Cesena and Palermo, as well as clubs from England, Spain and Russia have been rumoured to have turned in offers for the young attacking midfielder.
The details of the transfer are expected to be defined after the Czech Republic match, however it is understood Usami will finish the first-half of the season with Gamba, before moving to Germany in July.
Sport Hochi reports that it was Usami who chose Bayern Munich ahead of the many clubs which courted him.
If the deal goes through Usami would be the latest Japanese player to move to Germany following Shinji Kagawa, Makoto Hasebe and many others in the Bundesliga.