A Japanese source reports that Bayern decided against signing midfielder Takashi Usami on a permanent deal. He will leave the club at the end of the season, it is not decided yet whether he will return to Gamba Osaka or join a different European club.
When, half a year ago, Takashi Usami joined Bayern on loan, people were excited. Hailed as Japan’s biggest talent, he was another option for the wings and expected to impress after a short time of getting used to European football.
Usami’s first appearance was on matchday two in Wolfsburg. He replaced Thomas Müller after 70 minutes and again subbed off 20 minutes later, not the smartest way to deal with a young, insecure player. He then joined the reserve squad and played regularly, a good idea because any playing time is better than sitting on a bench. Scoring six goals in 14 matches and being a focal point in offense, it’s safe to say that Usami has been one of the reserve team’s best players.
Similar to Danijel Pranjic, he played the meaningless match in Manchester and the relatively easy one against Ingolstadt, although both times only as a substitute. It was against the latter when he scored his first goal for the first team.
Most fans assumed that he will be signed, spend the rest of the season with the reserve squad and then join a Bundesliga club on loan for the next campaign. Now, “Hochi Yomiuri”, a very trustworthy source, reports that the club decided to let him go once the loan deal is over (if you understand Japanese, I’d very much appreciate a few quotes or a translation in the comments). Google Translate tells me that Bayern would have had to pay about €2m for the Japanese winger before the transfer window closes (that was yesterday in case you already forgot it).
Was it the right decision? I’m struggling to find a reason to say yes. Just a few weeks ago, Jupp Heynckes himself said that, while Usami still lacks certain things, it’s all stuff that can still be learned, that the raw talent is definitely there. Why not sign him for the relatively cheap price, then let him mature at other clubs where he can play top-level football on a regular basis?
Takashi Usami’s future isn’t decided yet. His club Gamba Osaka would love to see him return to the J-League but he might try his luck in a different city, at a different club in Europe. Whatever his decision looks like, we can only wish him the best of luck. Prove the club wrong.