Japan's Reds set to replace Ono with Takahara

January 3, 2008

TOKYO, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Asian champions Urawa Reds are poised to sell Shinji Ono for a second time, with fellow Japan international Naohiro Takahara a likely replacement.

Ono, increasingly on the fringes of the Urawa team following a string of injuries, was scheduled to leave Japan for Germany on Thursday after an offer from Bundesliga side Bochum.

Takahara's arrival at Japan's best-supported club looks imminent after a frustrating spell with Bochum's German rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.

Eintracht and Urawa officials have agreed a fee of around $1.7 million to sign Japan's top striker, according to Japanese media reports.

'As a club, with the fans, its prestige... (Urawa) is way ahead,' Takahara was quoted as saying as he flew out of Japan a day before Ono.

'I've basically decided what I want to do. It should be decided in the next couple of days.'

Ono, once Japan's brightest light, was a member of three Japan World Cup squads and helped Dutch club Feyenoord win the UEFA Cup in 2002.

However, the 28-year-old has failed to claim a regular place at Urawa after returning to the J-League club in 2006 due to ankle trouble.

Takahara established himself in Europe at Hamburg from 2002 to 2006 but the former Boca Juniors striker has struggled to make his mark since moving to Frankfurt.