Shinji Okazaki can help Norwich City in their bid for promotion
Okazaki, who has only six months remaining on his current contract, has attracted interest from Premier League relegation contenders Huddersfield Town but the Foxes are unwilling to let him go. (h/t Sky Sports)
The 32-year-old was one of the driving forces behind Leicester’s Premier League triumph in the 2015-16 season. The Japanese international, who was a part of the Japan squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, was an important member of the squad till the previous season but he has fallen out of favour this term.
Okazaki has started only a single game in the Premier League this season, making 12 substitute appearances and playing a ridiculously low 170 minutes of football. He was omitted from the matches squad for the 2-1 defeat against Southampton, the first time it has happened in 14 games. Quite clearly, a player of his stature deserves better treatment and a lot more first-team involvement.
Sky Sports claims that Okazaki has reiterated his desire to play in Europe to secure a spot in Japan’s squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. In all honesty, he is not a spent force by any means and he still has enough gas left in his tank to compete at the highest level.
It is highly unlikely that Leicester will get a good bargain by selling him as he has only six months left on his current contract. To put things into perspective, Championship promotion hopefuls Norwich City should try to sign the Japanese international on loan until the end of the season and make the deal permanent next summer.
Norwich have had a great season in the second tier under manager Daniel Farke and the Canaries currently sit 2nd in the standings with 53 points from 28 games, just one point behind leaders Leeds United. However, the manager should be concerned about his team’s recent slump in form which includes a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Derby County.
Teemu Pukki has been a key figure behind Norwich’s surge for automatic promotion this season, with the Finnish international contributing with 15 goals and 4 assists. Jordan Rhodes and Onel Hernández have chipped in with some valuable goals and assists and Norwich have all their bases covered.
However, they need to add a more experienced face in their attack to help them in their bid for promotion. A versatile and dynamic attacker like Okazaki can not only provide cover and competition for Pukki and Rhodes up front but he can also operate in the hole behind the centre-forward in a No.10 role and also on either side of Farke’s 4-2-3-1.
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Hence, the hugely experienced and versatile Japanese international can prove to be a huge asset to a promotion-chasing team like Norwich and the Canaries should make themselves alert to the possibility of securing his services, with a couple of weeks in the transfer window still to go.