Espanyol to exploit Nakamura buzz

BARCELONA - Spanish club Espanyol are sending a delegation to Japan on Wednesday to explore ways of exploiting the marketing opportunities provided by recently acquired midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura.

The week-long trip includes meetings with travel agencies to arrange fan trips to Barcelona and officials will also seek to firm up plans for a pre-season tour of Japan next year, the La Liga club said on their website.

"Nakamura is our big icon in terms of our presence in Japan but the Espanyol brand also represents values that are very much in tune with Japanese society," Marketing director Raul Cipres said.

"The idea is to play two or three matches in Japan at the end of July or start of August," he added. "The opponents still need to be decided but we have received a lot of offers."

The 31-year-old Nakamura left Scottish club Celtic in the close season and opted to join Espanyol instead of returning to his boyhood J-League club Yokohama F-Marinos.