Japan's Kaoru Mitoma earns move to Premier League with Brighton

Japan international Kaoru Mitoma, who won the J1 League with Kawasaki Frontale in 2020 and recently featured at the Tokyo Games, has earned a move to Premier League outfit Brighton. Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Brighton and Hove Albion signed Japanese midfielder Kaoru Mitoma on a four-year deal from J1 League champions Kawasaki Frontale on Tuesday and will loan him to Belgium's Royale Union Saint-Gilloise for the coming season.

Mitoma, 24, was in the Japan squad at the Tokyo Olympics.

Brighton chairman Tony Bloom is the majority shareholder in Saint-Gilloise.

"We're delighted be able to sign Kaoru, who arrives off the back of a couple of really strong seasons in Japan," Brighton's technical director, Dan Ashworth, said in a statement on the Premier League club's 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," Ashworth said.

Mitoma said he wanted to improve his physical strength and show he could fight through a whole season.

"I want to contribute to the Brighton team after my time in Belgium," he said.