Brighton and Hove Albion are set to beat Celtic to the signing of Japanese forward Kaoro Mitoma after the Olympics.
That’s according to Tokyo Sports, who back up claims in England and Scotland that both sides are keen on the 24-year-old.
They state that, according to people close to the player, a ‘general agreement’ has already been reached to Mitoma to join Brighton following the Olympics.
However, since he has no experience in England, he is unlikely to be granted a British work permit, and so he will instead be loaned out to Royal Union Saint-Giroise in Belgium’s first division, who are only by Brighton chief Tony Bloom.
A source close to the player has told Tokyo Sports, “I heard that it was decided to go to the Premier League,” and it was confirmed the player will travel to finalise the deal after the Olympics are completed.
Brighton were not the only European side keen on his signature, with Celtic also showing interest via their new manager Ange Postecoglou.
He knows Mitoma from his time as manager of Yokohama F. Marinos and would have been keen to take him to Parkhead but has been pipped to the post by Brighton instead.
They’re now set to get a deal done over the next few weeks before sending Mitoma to Belgium, where Tokyo Sports are confident he’ll prove his worth and ‘surprise the world’ with his ‘proud dribbling’.