Kaoru Mitoma has said it is a dream come true to sign for Albion and hopes he can prove his qualities during a season-long loan in Belgium ahead of realising his ambition of playing in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old will spend the 2021/22 campaign with Royale Union Saint-Gilloise – a year he hopes will help him adapt to life on a different continent.
“This year I want to perform well in the Belgium league, to play throughout the season and make sure I get acclimatised to European football.
“The important thing is I want to improve my physicality and show that I can fight through the whole season. I want to contribute to the Brighton team after my time in Belgium.”
The winger cites former Manchester United man Shinji Kagawa as his inspiration, having grown up watching him play in Premier League.
“All football fans in Japan are aware of the Premier League and how high the level is, they recognise that it’s the best league in the world, and there are a lot of star players.
“The quality of play is obviously very high, which Japanese football fans are particularly aware of. Shinji Kagawa being a part of Manchester United was a big thing in Japan. I hope to have as much success as my fellow Japanese predecessors in the Premier League or other European leagues.
“I want to turn people’s attention to players in Japan. Fans who watch the Premier League know how Brighton play, and they love a possession-based style. I hope to be able to fit in with that style of play and I am looking forward to joining the team.”
Alongside the style of play, Albion’s longstanding interest was pivotal in securing Mitoma’s signature.
“I am really thankful that Brighton made the offer for me, they were the first club to show an interest, I am really grateful for that.
“It’s my dream to play overseas, and I’m looking forward to playing this season in Belgium, but ultimately the aim is to play in the best league in the world, the Premier League.”