New signing Yusuke Tanaka has told Western Sydney Wanderers FC fans he’s “no Shinji Ono” but hopes to make a similar impact for his new club as the Japanese star did.
Tanaka is one of four new signings the Wanderers have made for their ACL title defence alongside compatriot Yojiro Takahagi, Kerem Bulut and Sam Gallaway.
Former Japan international midfielder Ono spent two sensational years with the Wanderers, becoming a firm fan favourite for his quality and humility on and off the field.
“Shinji is Japanese legend but I’m not Shinji Ono,” Tanaka told Wanderers TV.
“But I want to play like him.
“I’m looking forward to play in front of the supporters. I’ve had a great time for 10 years in Japan but I look for a new challenge in Australia.
I wanted a new football life so I decided to come here.”
While Tanaka is a defender and comfortable at both right and left back, Takahagi possesses similar traits to Ono in the playmaker role.
Another new boy hoping to make an immediate impact for the Wanderers is Bulut.
The striker – who rose to prominence scoring nine goals in 11 matches for the Australian under-19 team that came second at the 2010 Asian Cup, has been playing in Turkey but says he has returned to Australia with a point to prove.
Bulut worked with Wanderers boss Tony Popovic during his time in the Sydney FC youth team and is excited about re-uniting with the ex-Socceroos defender.
“It wasn’t a hard decision. Popa called me and said he’s willing to give me a chance and I couldn’t say no,” said Bulut, who hails from Auburn in western Sydney.
“I haven’t played in the A-League and I’ve got a point to prove in Australia.
“It’s been perfect so far. The boys have been great, they are a good bunch of lads and they all welcomed me.
“I feel at home, I feel I have been here two years already but it’s only been a couple of days so I feel good.”
The winless Wanderers have spent this week in a training camp in Coffs Harbour as they look to find the right tonic to help turn their Hyundai A-League season around.
Popovic’s side doesn’t return to action until February 1 with a clash against Melbourne City at AAMI Park.