Wolves have signed Japanese international midfielder Hayao Kawabe from Swiss Super League side Grasshopper Club Zurich.

The 26-year-old will become the club’s first Japanese player and will join Wolves on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Kawabe is expected to return to Switzerland on loan at the end of January to complete the rest of the season with Grasshoppers.

Of the signing, Wolves technical director Scott Sellars said: “Naturally, Hayao is a player we’ve watched a lot and he’s done really well this season.

“He’s an attacking midfield player, very energetic, very busy, and has good quality. He’s really shone at Grasshoppers this year, and he’s one of the main reasons they’re doing so well.

“Due to the GBE criteria for signing international players, Hayao is a player who is eligible to sign for a British club this month, but may not be in the future, which is why we’ve moved now to confirm his signing.

“Hayao will spend January with Bruno’s group while the Swiss Super League is on a winter break, then he’ll likely return to Grasshoppers to finish the season there, as he has been an important player for them so far this season.”

Kawabe joined Grasshoppers from Sanfrecce Hiroshima last summer and has scored four goals in addition to providing three assists in his 18 appearances for the Swiss side.

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The midfielder made his senior debut for Japan against South Korea in March 2021 and has since made an additional three appearances for the national team, scoring his first international goal against Tajikistan in a World Cup qualifier in June.

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