Even before he had arrived at the club from Yokohama F Marinos in late June 2021 - via a quarantine period in a London hotel - he had instructed his new employers to pursue a move for Kyogo Furuhashi. A £4.7milliin deal with the striker’s then club Vissel Kobe was eventually sealed three weeks later. However, it has now emerged Furuhashi, who has proved the Australian’s statement signing courtesy of his stunning goalscoring exploits, was not the only key acquisition he sought from the J-League two summers ago. A domain from which he has subsequently recruited no fewer than six players.
Winger Kaoru Mitoma has proved a revelation for Brighton this season as the East Sussex club have held their own among the big spenders in the upper reaches of the English top flight. The 25-year-old Japanese international was immediately farmed out on loan with Belgian club Union Saint-Gilloise following a move from Kawasaki Fontale – Reo Hatate’s former club – in August 2021. And it was the timing of this switch that stymied Postecoglou’s designs on the player.
“Yeah, I tried to get him but it was already almost done for him to go to Brighton,” the 57-year-old said. “Him and Kyogo were the first two players I tried to bring across here. Mitoma would have been a good signing but unfortunately for us, Brighton also have a very good scouting network. They managed to pick him up but there was never any doubt in my mind that he was another one who was going to be a top player. He’s done really well down there, which hasn’t surprised me.”