FORMER Saints favourite Maya Yoshida has a new club – joining a growing cohort of Japanese players in the Bundesliga.

Schalke 04 seized upon the opportunity to bring in the centre-back after his contract with Sampdoria expired this summer, with Yoshida effectively replacing compatriot Ko Itakura, who departed Gelsenkirchen after his loan spell from Manchester City ended.

S04 have the option to automatically extend the contract of the defender for a further year.

33-year-old Yoshida, who spent eight years on the south coast at St Mary’s, has signed a one-year deal with the Bundesliga returnees, following their title winning campaign last term.

Yoshida had been plying his trade in Italy since departing Saints, remaining at Sampdoria after his loan spell with the Italian side from Saints in 2020.

In total the former VVv- Venlo man made 74 appearances for La Samp across two and a half years in Italy.


He joins fellow Japanese internationals Daichi Kamada, Wataru Endo, Ritsu Doan, Masaya Okugawa, Hiroki Ito and Makoto Hasebe in Germany’s top-flight.

During his spell with Saints, Yoshida made 194 appearances for the club, joining the club in their first season back in the Premier League, as well as appearing in both of Saints’ Europa League campaigns.

Impressively, Yoshida has represented his country 119 times since his debut against Yemen in January 2010, as well as 12 non-senior games in the Olympics.

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