Hannover 96 newcomer Hotaru Yamaguchi intends to channel his inner Arturo Vidal in the months ahead.
"He’s my favourite player, who I try to emulate," said Yamaguchi of the combative FC Bayern München midfielder. "Defensively we have a lot in common, but he scored goals, especially at Juventus. I want to do that."
'An interesting player'
With only FC Ingolstadt 04 (11), SV Darmstadt 98, SV Werder Bremen and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (all 17) scoring fewer goals after 17 matches than 17th-placed Hannover (18), new Reds head coach Thomas Schaaf will be hoping the Lower Saxony club’s latest Samurai Blue acquisition delivers.
"The team didn’t score enough during the Hinrunde, I want to see more intent in front of goal," Schaaf explained, before reeling off the qualities of Hannover’s new No.16. "I spent a few days in Japan while I was off. [Yamaguchi] is an interesting player: he works and runs hard and reads the game well."
For Yamaguchi himself, formerly of J-League 2 outfit Cerezo Osaka, the Bundesliga should provide the ideal platform on which to hone his craft. Indeed, despite being a big draw in his homeland, the 24-time Japan international has had designs on a move to Germany’s top flight for a number of years.
"At the World Cup in 2014, I noticed that a few things were missing from my game and I came to the decision that I wanted to get better," the 25-year-old midfielder recalled. "I hope that I’ll be able to put my fighting spirit to good use and help Hannover reach their goals. I always want to improve."