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Have Sounders reignited pursuit of Japanese playmaker?

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Hiroshi Kiyotake could be leaving Sevilla and the Sounders have previously said they pursued him.

HAMBURG, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 01: Hiroshi Kiyotake of Hannover celebrates after scoring their first goal during the First Bundesliga match between Hamburger SV and Hannover 96 at Volksparkstadion on November 1, 2015 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/Getty Images

Just a day after being linked to AC Milan’s Keisuke Honda, the Seattle Sounders have been prominently mentioned in rumors that another Japanese player, Hiroshi Kiyotake, is about to be on the move again.

The exact origin of these rumors is almost impossible to tell as they’ve been repeated by a host of Spanish-language rumor mongers, and none of them have firm sourcing. But there are a few reasons to at least give this rumor some serious consideration:

  • We know the Sounders explored the possibility of signing Kiyotake before, with GM Garth Lagerwey going on record as saying the club pursued him during a Q&A with fans in September.
  • Kiyotake is the exact kind of player the Sounders are likely to pursue. He won’t turn 28 until the end of next season, has been reasonably effective at a variety of attacking midfield positions and is adept at both scoring and setting up teammates. He’s also a regular with the Japanese national team.
  • Although he just joined La Liga’s Sevilla this season, he’s struggling to get minutes.

Looking at his statistics and his highlights, it’s not hard to see Kiyotake excelling with the Sounders. He’s got a good touch, is dangerous in front of goal, has an eye for the killer pass and is even pretty good in the air.

This looks like the exact kind of player the Sounders should be pursuing. He’s got the right skills, the right resume and is even the right age. The problem — similar to the last time they tried to get him — was that other teams in good leagues apparently want him.