FC Tokyo right-back Sei Muroya became the latest Japanese player to make the leap into European shores after sealing a move to German 2.Bundesliga side Hannover 96 on Friday. Muroya became the second Gasmen player to leave the club to the European leagues, following in the footsteps of defensive midfielder Kento Hashimoto. Hashimoto made his move to Russian Premier League side FC Rostov on July.
Muroya has been a steady feature in the FC Tokyo starting lineup, clocking up 137 appearances in all competitions since his debut in 2016. The 26-year old Osaka native will play his 138th and final match for FC Tokyo on Saturday, when the Gasmen took on Nagoya Grampus on Saturday’s J.League 1 Matchweek 10 action.
During his time with FC Tokyo, Muroya represented Japan in the 2016 Rio Olympics’s football tournament, before going on to earn 10 caps for the Japan national team after making his debut for Samurai Blue’s senior team in 2017.
“My time with FC Tokyo has prepared me for this challenge,” said Muroya in a statement released by FC Tokyo announcing his transfer.
The departures of both Hashimoto and Muroya would provide a significant blow to FC Tokyo, who were preparing to mount a challenge in the J1’s top half this season and were also dreaming of a run in this season’s AFC Champions League. FC Tokyo head coach Kenta Hasegawa must find adequate replacements for the two men as soon as possible should he wish to guide FC Tokyo to success in the 2020 season.
Hannover 96 were once mainstays of the Bundesliga, the top flight of German football, during the early 21st century. However, they were relegated in the 2015-16 season, which started off a yo-yo period for the club. Bouncing back from the 2.Bundesliga at the first time of asking, Hannover were relegated back to the second tier in the 2018-19 season. Die Roten could only muster a 6th placed finish in the 2019-20 2.Bundesliga season, consigning them to another year in the second tier.
Japan international Genki Haraguchi is a key player within the Hannover setup, with the winger having arrived there from Hertha Berlin at the start of the 2018-19 season.
The 2020-21 season of the 2.Bundesliga kicks-off on September 18th.