Takahara returns to Japan
The 28-year-old will officially transfer to J-League side Urawa Red Diamonds this week from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt after going through a medical and other details.
"Whichever team I've been with, I have always given my
all to win as a team. I will stay that way, even though the team
has changed," said Takahara.
Takahara is among the biggest names in the Japan national team, scoring a tournament-leading four goals in Japan's failed attempt to win a third straight AFC Asian Cup last July.
He is expected to fill the gap left at AFC champions Urawa by Brazilian marksman Washington, who moved to Brazil's Fluminense at the end of the 2007 J-League season.
Takahara, formerly with J-League side Jubilo Iwata, struggled to get a regular place at SV Hamburg in four seasons before moving to Frankfurt in mid-2006.
Last season his opportunities in Germany were limited to just eight games and one goal.
He returned to Japan weeks before the national squad, under new coach Takeshi Okada, opens FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers on 6 February with a home game against Thailand.
Japan will also play friendlies against Chile and Bosnia-Herzegovina later this month.
"I feel strongly about the World Cup qualifiers. I want to deliver on expectations as a striker," Takahara said.