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Soccer: Maya Yoshida leaves Southampton to join Sampdoria

Maya Yoshida, second from left, celebrates after scoring a goal during the first half of a Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier against Mongolia in Saitama near Tokyo, on Oct. 10, 2019. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Southampton defender Maya Yoshida has agreed to join Serie A club Sampdoria on loan for the rest of the season on Friday, the final day of the transfer window, the Italian side said.

    The 31-year-old Japan captain joins Sampdoria on a six-month loan for 200,000 euros ($222,000) with an option to extend for the 2020-2021 season, according to Sky Sport Italia.

    Yoshida has 100 senior caps for Japan and played in two Olympics, the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Games. He made 154 Premier League appearances, the most by any Japanese player.

    He started his career with Nagoya Grampus, before he signed with Dutch top-flight club VVV Venlo in January 2010, then Southampton in the summer of 2012.

    Yoshida had made six starts for the Saints this season, his eighth year in the Premier League.

    "If there's a good club and the timing is right, I'd go. If not, I'll stay and compete here. I don't have to cling on to (Premier League life). I'm ready for a new challenge," he said last week.

    Based in Genoa, Sampdoria, where former Japan striker Atsushi Yanagisawa played in the 2003-2004 season, are currently 16th in the Serie A table.

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