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Tuesday, 19th February 2013
In Japan Sports News, Sports,

Tadanari Lee secures loan move to FC Tokyo

FC Tokyo have announced the signing of striker Tadanari Lee from Premier League side Southampton on loan until the end of June.

Lee, a product of Tokyo's youth system, secured a move to the English side in 2011 following spells at Japanese teams Kashiwa Reysol and Sanfreece Hiroshima. He made seven appearances for the Saints in the Championship but has struggled to break into the team following the club's promotion to the Premier League and was plighted by injury during pre-season.

He has been limited to two League Cup appearances, scoring against Stevenage in August, and a run-out in the 5-1 FA Cup defeat against Chelsea in January.

The Japanese international returns home to his first club, FC Tokyo, where he spent two years as a youth player before moving on to Kashiwa Reysol. He now returns to the J. League first-division side in the build up to the new season which kicks-off on March 2nd. He will be aiming to help the side better their tenth place final position which they reached in 2012.

Lee said in a statement released by FC Tokyo that "he had a lot of concerns", but had made a firm decision to move back to his homeland. The 27-year-old is a fourth-generation resident of Korean descent and took Japanese citizenship in 2007.

Despite his 11 international caps he has not been selected for the national side since 2011 and will be looking to the loan spell to help force his way back into contention for a place in the upcoming Confederations Cup in Brazil in June.

Southampton stated that Lee will return to the club for pre-season training prior to the start of the 2013/14 season so will be unavailable for Tokyo's run-in towards the end of the J. League campaign.

The Saints are currently battling against relegation but picked up a valuable win in their last Premier League match, beating champions Manchester City 3-1 at St Mary's marking Mauricio Pochettino's first win as manager.

Written by Mark Smith