Japan's World Cup hero Ritsu Doan was once targeted by Newcastle United
Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Japan's World Cup hero Ritsu Doan was once targeted by Newcastle United

Ritsu Doan helped Japan secure a dramatic World Cup victory over Germany on Wednesday, and he is a player that Newcastle United scouts will remember well.

The 24-year-old scored Japan’s equaliser against the four-time world champions, coming off the bench to draw his side level after Manuel Neuer’s impressive save.

Hajime Moriyasu’s side would go on to win it, with former Arsenal forward Takuma Asano netting a glorious winner.

It was the second big shock of the World Cup so far, after Saudi Arabia beat Argentina on Tuesday.

Freiburg winger Doan has played his part in a famous win for his nation, in what is surely the greatest moment of his career so far.

Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

It’s a career that has taken him from Japan to Netherlands and to Germany, but he missed out on the chance to play in England – for Newcastle, no less.

Newcastle wanted World Cup hero Ritsu Doan in 2018

Cast your mind back to December 2018. Newcastle were managed by Rafa Benitez, and owned by Mike Ashley.

The Spaniard was in the final year of his contract at St James’ Park, enduring a tenure that saw him clash with the hierarchy.

Benitez wanted more ambition, which included more money being spent in the transfer market. And Doan was one player who was on the club’s radar heading into January 2019.

The Chronicle reported that Toon officials had been looking at Doan, who was playing for Groningen at the time. Benitez’s scouts had taken a liking to the then 20-year-old, as they searched for a new winger. He was reportedly available for just £1.7million, which would have made him an absolute bargain.

However, like a lot of Newcastle targets at the time, Doan went elsewhere. He joined PSV Eindhoven instead, where he won the KNVB Cup this year. He was excellent for the Dutch side last season, scoring 11 goals in all competitions.

Now he is playing for Freiburg in Germany, who paid PSV almost £8million for him.

Doan’s goal at the World Cup will serve as a reminder of what Newcastle could have had if they had decided to make a move back in January 2019.