After missing the first week of post-winter break training, newly signed Kazuki Nagasawa finally joined his new club-mates on the pitch yesterday, giving everyone their first look at the 22-year-old offensive-oriented midfielder from Japan.
Nagasawa’s Transfermarkt profile lists him as having logged just 15 minutes of play with former club Yokohama F Marinos, with that insertion having come in a cup match against Omiya Ardija.
If the opponent in Nagasawa’s single match sounds familiar, it’s because it is that of the club where beloved former Effzeh captain Milivoje Novakovic has played since the summer of 2012. Semi-ironically, Nova is listed as a late substitute in the April meeting of the two sides, meaning Nagasawa and Novakovic shared the pitch for ten minutes plus injury time.
It seems doubtful there was a swap of jerseys or even an exchange of words in which Nova might have suggested to the young Nagasawa that he look into transferring to Köln, but I also have no evidence that says it did not happen, so make of that what you will.
Talking to fc-koeln.de, Nagasawa notes he is not only making a switch from Japan to Germany, but is also making a huge leap in advancing from playing almost exclusively in the amateur ranks to a more-professional setting.
“In Japan, I was still playing in the university league,” he said. “Here, the tempo is much higher and the opposing players are significantly bigger and more robust.”
Following his assessment of the up-tick in quality of play in his new surroundings, Nagasawa is maintaining a reasonable expectation of his role in the first team for the remainder of the season
“Surely, I need more time, but I hope that my acclimatization is achieved quickly so that I can be in the team at least once in the Rückrunde,” said Nagasawa. “because I w ant to help the team as soon as possible.
Jörg Jakobs calls Nagasawa “an interesting perspective player” on the Effzeh’s English-language page. Certainly, nobody would expect a player of Nagasawa’s age and experience to be much more than a prospect at this point, but, from a fan perspective, you have to like the idea of stocking the shelves for the near future.
In the interim, you’ll likely have to catch some youth-squad matches to see Nagasawa in competition.
You know, those of you fortunate enough to be in the area. The rest of us will wait to hear your rants or raves via the internet.