Shinji Okazaki has proven to be a key player for Leicester City since joining the Club from German side FSV Mainz 05 on a four-year deal in June 2015.
Okazaki arrived at King Power Stadium from the Bundesliga for an undisclosed fee and became the Foxes’ third signing of the summer following additions of Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs.
Regarded as one of the finest forwards in the German league, Okazaki brought with him an exciting and explosive playing style alongside an impressive international pedigree.
The Japan striker scored five goals in his maiden season in the East Midlands to help Claudio Ranieri’s men stun world football and lift the Premier League title at the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
His 49 goals in just 103 games for Japan make him his nation’s third all-time record goalscorer, while his 12 league goals during his last season at Mainz also saw him become the Bundesliga’s all-time leading Japanese scorer.
Following his breakthrough season at City, Okazaki was also named the AFC international Footballer of the Year before going on to make his debut in the UEFA Champions League in the 1-0 home victory over FC Copenhagen at King Power Stadium.
Later scoring his first goal in European football’s biggest club competition, to help secure a 2-1 success against Club Brugge, Okazaki has been a popular figure among supporters wherever he has played thanks in part to both his ability to score spectacular goals and his outstanding work ethic on behalf of his team.
With his appetite to chase lost causes and an adept heading ability that defies his 5ft 8ins frame, the Japanese international appears ready-made for his time in England. After representing Japan Under-23s in the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, Okazaki soon established himself as a first choice striker for his country thanks to some polished performances at centre forward.
Those displays soon brought with them his first Japanese goal in 2009 against Yemen. It was a year in which Okazaki scored a remarkable 15 times for his country – including back-to-back hat-tricks against Hong Kong and Togo.
Another hat-trick for Japan in their 2011 Asian Cup campaign came in between the 2010 and 2014 World Cups – both of which Okazaki played and scored in for his country.
At club level things began for Okazaki back in Japan with J-League side Shimizu S-Pulse, with whom he signed his first professional contract in 2005.
After making his debut at the age of 19 he went on to score 49 goals in 154 games for the Club before his talents caught the eye of clubs in Europe.
It was Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart who eventually made their move for the striker in January 2011 and Okazaki was thrown straight into the action with an impressive debut in the Europa League against Portuguese giants Benfica.
A stunning long-range goal against Hannover 96 opened his account for his new club and an even more impressive bicycle kick against the same side earned him the league’s Goal of the Month Award in February 2012.
After a move to Mainz in 2013 he exploded onto the scene for his new side. He ended his first season with an impressive 15 goals to help the team to a seventh placed finish and Europa League qualification.
That total included an emphatic strike on his debut during a 3-2 victory over former club Stuttgart.
His form in front of goal continued in 2014/15 with 12 Bundesliga goals that helped steer Mainz to an 11th placed finish – just six points away from European qualification – before he made the switch to Leicester.