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Everton FC transfer news: The Japanese right-back is set to join the Premier League.

Yukinari Sugawara, a target for Everton, is reportedly set to undergo a medical and finalize his move to Southampton. Sugawara, 24, had attracted interest from Everton due to his impressive performances for Japan and AZ Alkmaar in recent years. The Japan international, who has earned 13 caps since his debut in 2020, recorded the most assists of any Eredivisie full-back last season.

Despite his success in the Netherlands, it’s a setback for Everton that Southampton will likely secure the defender’s signature. Fabrizio Romano confirmed on X that Sugawara is undergoing a medical at Southampton and will sign his contract later today. Romano stated: “Yukinari Sugawara, set to undergo medical today at Southampton as he’s joining #SaintsFC from AZ. Japanese fullback will sign the contract later today, deal done.” With his contract expiring next summer, Sugawara was available for a relatively low fee, valued at £10m by Transfermarkt.

Although his attacking numbers were impressive, there were concerns about his defensive capabilities that might have been exposed in the Premier League. For instance, he ranked in the 5th percentile for aerial duels won and the 23rd percentile for defensive actions, indicating he was more effective offensively. Everton manager Sean Dyche, whose team conceded the fourth fewest goals in the Premier League last season, faced uncertainty at the right-back position. Nathan Patterson, Seamus Coleman, Ashley Young, and Ben Godfrey all played in that role throughout the campaign. With veterans Young and Coleman likely in their final season and Patterson yet to earn Dyche’s full trust, securing a reliable right-back remains crucial for Everton.

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