Motherwell manager Steven Hammell revealed Japanese midfielder Riku Danzaki has been “desperate” to seal his move to Fir Park.
The 22-year-old arrived in Scotland in midweek ahead of a prospective move from Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. The switch has been complicated by the fact that the attacking player has been on loan with Brisbane Roar.
Motherwell are still awaiting a work permit as well as completing the transfer bureaucracy, and Danzaki looks unlikely to feature against St Mirren on Saturday, but Hammell feels the player will be worth the wait.
When asked if the deal was close, Hammell said: “It’s hard for me to say no now he’s been seen at the airport with the scarf around his head.
“It’s not confirmed yet but he’s a player we like and have been tracking for a while. So hopefully we’ll get it done as soon as possible.
“As soon as we came in he was a player we identified. He’s been playing in Australia in a league where there’s a lot of familiar faces and coaches we could go to for character references.
“He’s been desperate to come here. I’ve done numerous calls with him online, Zoom calls, WhatsApp calls, we’ve been putting a lot of work into it. His attitude and determination to get here is number one.
“We want him to come in and do well and I’m sure he will, and give him a platform. I think the fans will enjoy seeing him when the time comes.”
Danzaki is happy with the role Hammell has earmarked for him.
“I was talking to him and obviously I have my own ideas, it was interesting to speak to him, I think we’re on the same page,” the manager said. “His attitude and response was he could play anywhere.
“That backs up what I was saying in terms of his attitude, willingness and it’s also a cultural thing. He’s super professional and well mannered.”
Danzaki’s impending arrival will further boost Hammell’s squad following the earlier arrival of Irish defender Shane Blaney, winger Olly Crankshaw and striker Mikael Mandron.
Blaney made his debut at Arbroath last weekend and Mandron struck twice on his first start as Motherwell recorded their first win in nine matches.
Hammell said: “It needs to be competitive, you need to understand there’s consequences to maybe not being at your best.
“Earlier in the season we were doing well but also there wasn’t that competition, especially in certain positions, we were light in some areas.
“Now we have got that and we need to progress and really show that on a match day.”
Kevin van Veen was rested from the start at Gayfield and Hammell believes the partial break will do his top goalscorer some good.
“We tried to explain that to Kevin, he obviously wants to play every single game,” Hammell said.
“He still came on and did really well for us. He is a big player for us, bringing Mika in is to help him and take a little bit of the weight off him and maybe use him in different ways as well.
“We have been heavily reliant on him this year. The Rangers game away he was really struggling, but even at that we needed him to come on.”
Hammell returns to the ground on Saturday where he kicked off his Motherwell reign with a 1-0 win in Paisley six months ago.
“Sometimes it seems longer, sometimes it seems shorter,” he said. “There’s never a dull moment. But it’s been a lively six months, I have learned a lot.”