Western bolster attacking stocks with arrival of Japanese star Danzaki

Western United have strengthened their attacking core with the arrival of Japanese winger Riku Danzaki – who returns to the Isuzu UTE A-League after a brief stint in Scotland.

The 23-year-old joins Western on a two-year deal after four appearances with Scottish Premier League outfit Motherwell FC.

Danzaki had previously burst onto the scene in the A-Leagues with Brisbane Roar, particularly in their 2020-21 campaign where he scored nine goals and tallied a single assist.

He returned at the start of last season on loan once more from Consodale Sapporo and made the 12 appearances, before jetting to Scotland for a short stay at Fir Park in January.

INS AND OUTS: Isuzu UTE A-League 2023-24 Transfer Centre

“I am so happy to sign for Western United. I will do my best on the pitch for the club,” Danzaki said.

“Western United is a great team, lots of passion and good football. I like it, and I am so happy to be here. I will do my best to win something for the club.”

Danzaki is the latest attacking arrival at Western this off-season, joining former Newcastle Jets playmaker Daniel Penha as they look to re-tool their front-line going into the new campaign.

“We have had an eye on Riku for some time now after his performances with Brisbane Roar and we are extremely pleased to add his quality into our side,” coach John Aloisi said.

“Riku can play anywhere in the final third and can hurt an opposition in a number of ways, whether that be scoring himself, setting up a teammate or taking on a defender with his skill.

“He is coming into our squad that is rich with dynamic, exciting, young attacking talent and I can’t wait to see everyone working together in training and on the pitch this season.”

The 2022 A-League Men champions are looking to bounce back after a difficult season, where they missed the finals in seventh place. They have since undergone a major squad rebuild, with the likes of Alessandro Diamanti (retirement), Neil Kilkenny, James Troisi, Dylan Pierias (Western Sydney Wanderers)Connor Pain (Al-Orobah FC), Leo Lacroix (Craoiva) and Jamie Young (Melbourne City) have all departed.

The Japanese playmaker is the club’s eighth new season, joining Penha, Angus Thurgate (Newcastle Jets)Tom Heward-Belle (Sydney FC), Matt Sutton (Melbourne City)James Donachie (Sydney FC) and Kane Vidmar on the arrival front.

Western kick-off their 2023-24 campaign on August 9, when they take on Edgeworth Eagles in the Round of 32 of the Australia Cup.

Featured image: Western United