Yukinari Sugawara is almost certainly out of the Eredivisie. The Japanese wanted to leave and will most likely swap AZ for Southampton, who were promoted to the Premier League last season.

Both Fabrizio Romano and Football International reported the news on Wednesday morning. Sugawara will undergo his medical in England on Wednesday, after which he will sign a contract until mid-2028.

Romano writes that AZ will keep a maximum of seven million euros for the offensive right back. That sum includes bonuses, so the Alkmaarders will receive a lower amount in advance.

This marks the end of Sugawara's five-year tenure in the Netherlands. The now 24-year-old wingback joined AZ from Japanese side Nagoya Grampus in the summer of 2019 and has since played 198 matches for AZ.

The fact that Alkmaar was open to Sugawara leaving has everything to do with the expiring contract of the 13-times international of Japan. His contract still had one year to run and so AZ had to sell this summer to keep something of Sugawara.

Substitute

AZ already has the successor of the departing right back in-house: Seiya Maikuma was already presented in mid-June. The 26-year-old wing defender came over from Japanese Cerezo Osaka and signed a contract until mid-2028 in the AFAS Stadium.

“I think he certainly has a lot of similarities with Yuki (Sugawara, ed.)”, said director of football affairs Max Huiberts at the presentation of the new Japanese player. “He is attacking. Comfortable on the ball. Maybe even a bit more mature in the defensive part. He will have to compete with Denso Kasius. We also brought him to AZ last year and he also has a lot of quality, so that will be an interesting battle.”

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