Japan’s preparations for the 33rd Olympic Games in Paris have hit a ‘double whammy’.

“AZ Alkmaar are in talks with Cerezo Osaka for the signing of Seiya Maikuma, 26,” Dutch media outlet Boatwalpremier reported on Wednesday (local time), “to replace Yukinari Sugawara, who is expected to leave the club this summer.” The report added that “Alkmaar have made an official offer to Cerezo and Cerezo is considering it positively,” but that “Cerezo is considering millions of dollars.

“Alkmaar has submitted an official offer to Cerezo, which the club is considering positively,” the report added, 토토 “but Cerezo wants a transfer fee in the millions of euros.”

Maikuma is one of the best right-backs in Japan at the moment. After graduating from Momoyama Gakuin University, he made his professional debut for V-Faren Nagasaki at the rather late age of 22 and immediately impressed, earning a move to Cerezo in 2022.

Last year, he was named to the season’s best 11 despite his club finishing ninth in the J1 League. His accurate kicking and dribbling, reminiscent of Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), has kept him in the center of European transfer rumors.

It was Alkmaar who won the battle for Maikuma. With Sugawara’s move to the big leagues likely, Alkmaar were keen to fill the void left by Maikuma. In fact, Maikuma is also a potential backup for Sugawara on the Japanese national team.

Alkmaar is a “traditional powerhouse” that finished fourth in the Eredivisie last season and qualified for the UEFA Europa League. They’ve been blocked by PSV Eindhoven, Feyenoord Rotterdam, and Ajax at every turn, so they’re determined to make offensive reinforcements to challenge for the big prize.

If Maikuma joins, it will be Alkmaar’s “first signing” of the summer transfer window. Alkmaar has yet to make any major signings or departures, aside from basic operations such as loan returns and contract expirations.

Naturally, Sugawara’s next destination is also of interest. Currently, defending Europa League champions Atalanta BC are the frontrunners in the race to sign Sugawara, as recently reported by Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport.

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