Michael Olunga has penned a contract extension at Japanese J-League side Kashiwa Reysol just days after dismissing speculation he could be set for a return to Europe.
The Kenyan forward has been among the best performers in Japan’s top-flight league this season. He has found the back of the net 26 times in 32 matches and currently is the runaway top scorer in the division.
These performances have increased speculation he may be on the radar of clubs in Germany, France, Turkey, and England in the upcoming transfer window.
The 26-year-old’s initial deal at Reysol was set to end in January of 2020, but he has now put pen to paper on a better contract and will remain in Hitachi until 2022.
Speaking to the media after signing the new contract Olunga emphasized that his focus is fully on continuing to give his all to Reysol. “I don’t want to talk about transfers or anything like that. Now, I’m working hard for Reysol,” he said.
The development could provide mixed reactions to many of Olunga’s fans in East Africa, most of whom were vouching for him to make a return to Europe to test himself in the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga or any of the top five leagues, which are some of the most popular football Championships amongst the football lovers in Kenya.
Since leaving Gor Mahia in 2015, Olunga has turned out for Sweden club Djurgarden IF where he scored 12 league goals in 13 matches. The striker has also played in China’s Zhicheng FC and La Liga club Girona, where he scored a hat-trick against Las Palmas, before making a surprise move to Japan to join Reysol.
Even though he missed Harambee Stars’ last two 2021 Africa Nations Cup qualification matches against Comoros in November, Olunga is expected to be Kenya’s main player ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers which begin in 2021.
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By Prince Sobayeni