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BARCELONA

Barcelona agree deal to sign Japan's Hiroki Abe

The J1 League side has confirmed that their 20-year-old rising star will make the move to LaLiga and suggestions are he may be in line for early impact.

Hiroki Abe ante Marcos Llorente durante el partido que enfrentó al Kashima y al Real Madrid en el último Mundial de Clubes.
ANDREW BOYERS REUTERS

Japonese club Kashima Antlers have confirmed that their young striker Hiroki Abe will join FC Barcelona.

Barça move a 'difficult decision' says Abe

As one of Japan's hottest young stars, his move from the J1 League side was not an easy decision to make, but the 20-year-old is due to undergo a medical and sign a contract after the two clubs reached an agreement over a transfer.

The deal will reportedly cost Barca a fee in the region of €2million.

"It was a difficult decision to leave the team this season," Abe, who was named Rookie of the Year in Japan's top flight in 2018, told Kashima's website.

"I felt strongly that I wanted to try new challenges at Barcelona, and I decided to move. I believe the various difficulties and obstacles I will face from now on are essential for my growth."

Abe is expected to link up with Barca B but reports suggest that he could join Ernesto Valverde's first-team squad for their pre-season tour of Japan.

A winner of the AFC Champions League last year, Abe appeared in all three of Japan's group games at the Copa America, where they drew with Uruguay and Ecuador after losing 4-0 to Chile.