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Friday, Dec. 31, 2010

Makino OKs move to Cologne

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) Defender Tomoaki Makino has agreed to sign with the Bundesliga's Cologne on a full transfer, his J. League club Sanfrecce Hiroshima announced on Thursday.

Makino will undergo a medical exam in early January to finalize the deal, Sanfrecce said.

He would become the fifth Japanese player in the German top flight alongside Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04), Makoto Hasebe and Kisho Yano (Freiburg). Hajime Hosogai has signed with Bayer Leverkusen, but will be immediately farmed out to Augsburg in the second division. Shimizu S-Pulse Forward Shinji Okazaki, meanwhile, is slated to join Stuttgart without a transfer fee if he passes medical tests next month.

"Watching players of my generation like (Yuto) Nagatomo, Uchida and Kagawa perform overseas, I felt more and more compelled to take on a bigger challenge," Makino said.

The 23-year-old Makino has spent all five seasons of his career with Hiroshima, which finished seventh in 2010.

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