Exclusive: Bristol City transfer target set for medical to continue attacker's whirlwind week

Bristol City are set to complete their second signing of the summer with Yu Hirakawa due to undergo a medical on Monday at the High Performance Centre before joining the rest of the squad in Portugal.

Hirakawa delivered an emotional goodbye to Machida Zelvia fans on Saturday after nearly three years with the surprise J-League leaders in which he has made 61 appearances, scoring 11 times. The winger signed off with an assist in the 1-0 win over Nagoya Grampus as he laid the ball back from an inside left position for Hokuto Shimoda to strike the only goal of the game.

Before kick-off, Machida had confirmed that it would be Hirakawa's final match for the club “in order to complete the necessary procedures and preparations for a transfer to an overseas club”, and he delivered a lap of honour of the GION Stadium, bowing and clapping supporters. The move to BS3 is thought to be a permanent transfer rather than an initial loan as previously reported.

Should all the relevant medical checks be passed, Hirakawa will become City’s first ever Japanese player. It should prove to be a whirlwind week for him as Bristol Live understands he’s then due to fly out to the Robins’ training camp to meet his new teammates.

That will allow some degree of adaptation, as he’s been named in Japan’s Olympic squad for Paris which will impact his start to life as a City player. The football competition kicks off on July 24 with the men's gold medal match on August 9, a day before the Championship season begins.

Capable of playing on the right or left wing, the 23-year-old will need some time to settle and acclimatise with so many aspects of his new club, the Championship and Bristol itself but City believe they’ve secured real value in the market with this addition.

The Robins wide forwards last term tended to be Anis Mehmeti, Sam Bell and Mark Sykes who, with the exception of the latter, are not stereotypical wingers, willing to drive into space at speed, a primary attribute head coach Liam Manning has been keen to add this summer.

Hirakawa therefore follows striker Fally Mayulu in hopefully delivering such, bringing extra layers to City’s attack which, at times, looked one-dimensional and a little predictable last season.

Like Mayulu, patience will be required but City hope Hirakawa can mimic the success stories of Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and Koji Miyoshi who had excellent seasons last term for Coventry City and Birmingham City, respectively, although both those players were signed after time spent in Belgium meaning it wasn’t as much of a culture shock.

Meanwhile, City are hoping for a resolution to Scott Twine’s situation at Burnley after Scott Parker was appointed on Saturday as the Clarets' new manager on a three-year deal. The Lancashire club have been without a permanent boss since May 29 after Vincent Kompany left for Bayern Munich which has contributed to the delay over a decision on Twine.

City want to bring the 24-year-old to Ashton Gate after his encouraging loan spell in the second half of last season but he still has two years remaining on his contract at Turf Moor, with Burnley keen to recoup as much of the £4million they originally invested in him as possible.

Twine has made it clear that City is preferred destination should a move be sanctioned and increasingly appears that should Parker green light his exit, a deal can be concluded fairly swiftly. But Twine is one of several decisions for the incoming manager with significant upheaval expected across the squad and there remains a small chance the Clarets may elect to keep hold of him.

There is also the question as to whether a figure can be agreed in this window or the Robins pay a loan fee to sign him on a temporary basis once again, with a view to a permanent.

With a desire for another striker, and a move for Sandro Kulenovic now off after he signed a new contract at Dinamo Zagreb, it looks like the vast majority of City’s transfer budget remaining will be directed towards that player.

Bristol Live has also learned that Tottenham Hotspur Under-21 star Jamie Donley is not on their shortlist for the summer with reports last week linking the 19-year-old as a potential loan option.

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