‘Our top player’ – Brighton fan favourite and Barcelona transfer target signs new long-term contract
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Kaoru Mitoma has signed a new long-term contract that runs until June 2027.
Men’s first-team head coach Roberto De Zerbi said: “It’s great news. Kaoru is our top player.”
Technical director David Weir added: “Ensuring that a player of Kaoru’s quality will remain with us for the long term is fantastic news. Kaoru adapted to the Premier League last season and has quickly become one of our most important players.
“His success also reflects the work of the departments that played a role in his recruitment, helping him gain important experience on loan and ultimately becoming a big part of Roberto’s first-team group.
“I have no doubt that our supporters will be delighted with the news.”
Mitoma, who is reportedly FC Barcelona’s ‘top target for 2024’, signed for Brighton in 2021 and spent the 2021/22 season on loan with Royal Union Saint-Gilloise. In Belgium, he made 29 appearances in all competitions, being credited with eight goals and four assists.
The 26-year-old quickly established himself as a key player for Albion the following campaign, with a series of exciting displays and he scored his first goal in a 3-2 win at Wolves in November 2022.
He holds the record for most Premier League goals scored in a season by a Japanese player, finishing the 2022/23 campaign with seven goals, one more than the previous record held by Shinji Okazaki and Shinji Kagawa.
Since his debut in August 2022, he’s contributed 13 goals and 12 assists, from 52 appearances in an Albion shirt.
He was named Most Valuable Player 2022 by the Japan Pro-Footballers Association (JPFA), while he also won the Premier League’s Goal of the Month award for August 2023.
Mitoma has represented his country at senior level, making his debut in November 2021. He has gone on to win 18 caps, including four at the World Cup in Qatar last winter, where he set up Japan’s dramatic winner against Spain in the group stage.