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Brighton sign Japan Olympic star Kaoru Mitoma

The 24-year-old arrives from Kawasaki Frontale but will spend the season on loan in Belgium.

Brighton have signed Japan international Kaoru Mitoma on a four-year deal from J1 League side Kawasaki Frontale.

The 24-year-old will spend the 2021-22 season on loan at Belgian first division team Royal Union Saint-Gilloise.

Mitoma was part of the squad which narrowly missed out on the bronze medal at their home Olympics, though he scored as a second-half substitute as they lost the third-place placy-off 3-1 to Mexico.

“We’re delighted to be able to sign Kaoru, who arrives off the back of a couple of really strong seasons in Japan,” Brighton technical director Dan Ashworth told the club website.

“As part of his development we have decided to loan him to Union Saint-Gilloise, to help him become accustomed to European football and test himself in a different environment.

“He’s one we have tracked for a while so we are looking forward to seeing how he progresses in the next year and we will be watching him closely during his time in Belgium.”

In the 2020 J1 league, Mitoma found the net on 13 occasions as his side lifted the title, and has 30 goals from 64 appearances for Kawasaki Frontale.

Brighton defender Leo Ostigard has also signed a new one-year contract with the club and will be spending the upcoming season on-loan at Stoke.

The 21-year-old spent the previous season with Coventry and has also spent time at St Pauli in the German Bundesliga 2.

“Leo has spent pre-season with the first team here and has demonstrated how much his game has developed during his time with Coventry,” Brighton manager Graham Potter told the club website.

“This move to Stoke will hopefully see him play regularly and continue with his progression.

“David Weir and his team will be in close contact with Leo throughout the year and we wish him well for the season.”

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