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News: Takahiro Kunimoto joins Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

K League champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors have continued their foray into the transfer window by acquiring highly-rated midfielder Takahiro Kunimoto from relegated Gyeongnam FC.

After relegation to the K League 2, there was much anticipation regarding the suitors for Gyeongnam FC's Japanese attacking midfielder Takahiro Kunimoto. However, it was announced on Tuesday that the 22-year-old had signed for the reigning champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

Kunimoto joined Gyeongnam at the start of the 2018 season, the side's first in the top flight since their relegation in 2014. It would prove to be a memorable season for the Reds in which they would eventually finish runners-up and automatically qualify for the 2019 edition of the AFC Champions League.

During that campaign, Kunimoto joined with the likes of Marcão to help support an attack feared throughout the division. Kunimoto himself picked up five goals and two assists for the campaign but was heavily praised for his work rate and creativity, boasting some of the highest U22 statistics for the year and playing well over 2,000 minutes. The now 22-year-old featured in the top five for most passing stats, including progressive and through passes.

The midfielder's second season was not as strong as he struggled to impact matches in a faltering side. Furthermore, his season was blighted with injury in which time was needed to recover from. He eventually picked up two goals and two assists for the league campaign, not to mention two goals in the Champions League in his side's wins against Kashima Antlers and Johor Darul Ta'zim.

With Gyeongnam's relegation, it was expected that top division clubs would swoop in for the midfielder. By acquiring his signature, Jeonbuk will be looking to bolster what is becoming an increasingly depleted midfield what with the attack talents of Moon Seon-min heading to the military in addition to a number of players on free agency in central midfield.

Speaking via the club's official media channels, Kunimoto said: "I am very pleased to be given this challenge of joining the best team in K League, and want to play at Jeonju Castle as quickly as possible. I will do my best to help the team achieve its goal of retaining the championship this season."

Takahiro Kunimoto becomes Jeonbuk's fourth acquisition in this transfer window, following on from the signatures of central defender Oh Ban-seok, Kim Bo-kyung and Koo Ja-ryong.


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