Wolves close in on former Japanese international

Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The Wollongong Wolves are poised to complete one of their biggest signings in recent memory with former Japanese international Yuzo Tashiro set to join the club.

The Mercury understands the NSW National Premier Men’s 1 outfit are close to agreeing terms with Tashiro on a deal that would see the striker play in their upcoming campaign.

It is believed the Wolves – who are considered one of the leading contenders in the A-League expansion race – are hopeful of receiving confirmation in the coming days.

Tashiro has had an extensive career plying his trade in the Japanese domestic competitions and earned three international caps for his home country in 2008.

The 34-year-old has made close to 200 appearances in the J-League Division 1.

He scored on 30 occasions in 115 appearances for current J-League champions Kashima Antlers while at the club between 2005 and 2011.

During that period he helped the Asian Champions League heavyweights to win three league titles, an Emperor’s Cup and a Japanese Super Cup.

Tashiro spent his last two seasons in the J-League Division 2 with Cerezo Osaka, helping the club secure promotion back to the top tier.

He will fill one of the Wolves two VISA player positions for next season, with Chilean Nico Bernal also returning for his second campaign in Wollongong. 

Tashiro’s addition would further bolster the Wolves’ attack which struggled to find the back of the net last season. 

Wollongong scored just 23 goals in 22 matches in 2016, but have made several new additions in a bid to increase their potency up front.

Former Blacktown City gun Patrick Antelmi turned down several offers from other clubs to join the Wolves last November while Hristijan Tanoski has also come on-board for the 2017 season. Former Western Sydney Wanderers attacker Josh MacDonald and recovering striker Peter Simonoski have both also been retained.

The Wolves begin their away from home campaign against Parramatta FC on March 11 at Melita Stadium.

The club’s first home match won’t be held until round three when Manly United travel south to WIN Stadium.