Abe to join Barcelona from Kashima Antlers

By Sports Desk July 12, 2019

Rising Japan star Hiroki Abe has agreed to join Barcelona, J1 League side Kashima Antlers have confirmed.

The 20-year-old is due to undergo a medical and sign a contract after the two clubs reached an agreement over a transfer.

The deal will reportedly cost Barca a fee in the region of €2million.

"It was a difficult decision to leave the team this season," Abe, who was named Rookie of the Year in Japan's top flight in 2018, told Kashima's website.

"I felt strongly that I wanted to try new challenges at Barcelona, and I decided to move. I believe the various difficulties and obstacles I will face from now on are essential for my growth."

Abe is expected to link up with Barca B but reports in Spain suggest he could join Ernesto Valverde's first-team squad for their pre-season tour of Japan.

A winner of the AFC Champions League last year, Abe appeared in all three of Japan's group games at the Copa America, where they drew with Uruguay and Ecuador after losing 4-0 to Chile.

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