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Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006

Messina makes play for Ogasawara

J. League club Kashima Antlers have received an offer from Italian first-division side Messina for the services of Japan midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara, Kashima officials said Saturday.

Messina officials will visit Japan next Wednesday to hold talks with Kashima over the offer as well as the future of Messina forward Atsushi Yanagisawa, who wants to return to the Ibaraki club.

The offer came a week after Ogasawara failed in his attempt to secure a contract with English Premier League side West Ham United after joining the London club on a weeklong trial.

Last summer, Ogasawara received an offer from Italian first-division club Lecce but Kashima denied the 26-year-old a move overseas until the end of the 2005 football season in Japan.

Fellow Japan international Yanagisawa told Kashima officials last month that he wants to return to Kashima for more playing time after being kept on the substitutes' bench in the first season of his three-year full-transfer contract with Messina.

Yanagisawa joined Messina on loan in the summer of 2004 after an unhappy spell at Sampdoria, where he failed to score a single goal in 18 league and cup matches with the Genoa-based club.

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