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Nakajima joins Al Duhail

Kuala Lumpur: Japanese forward Shoya Nakajima has signed for Al Duhail as the Qatar club look to defend their league title and mount a strong challenge in the 2019 AFC Champions League season.

Nakajima joins Al Duhail, who won the Qatar Stars League, Qatar Cup and Emir Cup in 2018, from Portuguese club Portimonense.

"I will be moving from Portimonense to Al-Duhail," Nakajima wrote on his official blog.

"I'll continue to have fun playing football and work hard to get better at it! I had a wonderful time at Portimonense. I thank the club officials, the staff, and my teammates. I hope to enjoy my days at Al Duhail as much as possible!"

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Nakajima was named last September's Primeira Liga player of the month following a run of outstanding performances with Portimonense, where he has primarily a left winger and attacking midfielder.

The former FC Tokyo player had been linked with a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers, but Portimonense reportedly rejected a bid from the English Premier League side.

After being left out of the squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Nakajima has emerged as one of Japan's next generation of stars under new manager Hajime Moriyasu.

A calf injury forced him to pull out of the squad for the just-concluded AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

Nakajima joined Portimonense on loan from J-League side FC Tokyo in the summer of 2017. He ended his impressive first season with 10 goals and 12 assists in 29 league games. This season, he has scored five goals and six assists in 13 games.

Nakajima, who was a member of the Japan U-23 squad for the 2016 Rio Olympics, has two goals in six international caps for Japan.

Al Duhail are currently second in the Qatari top flight - two points behind Al Sadd - with seven games left in the season.

For the 2019 AFC Champions League, Al Duhail - quarter-finalists last season - are in Group C with Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia, UAE side Al Ain and Islamic Republic of Iran's Esteghlal.

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