Friday, 29 June 2018

Neto to Nagoya

Another day another player departure. I don’t know if these are the proverbial rats leaving a sinking ship or whether these are players we don’t need and want to get rid of. There’s probably not as much to say about Neto’s departure as Okubo’s, but I’ll write a few words about it anyway.

It’s often said that Neto has a great relationship with Kazama and it’s certainly true that he’ll be able to earn a lot more with moneybags Nagoya. It’s a bit concerning though that he’d want to leave a team (kind of) challenging for a second consecutive title for one that could quite easily be back in J2 come the end of the year. How good a relationship would it need to be? Or maybe it could be a not so good relationship with Oniki. Entirely speculation on my part, but after Okubo, I’m starting to create conspiracy theories. Personally, I think we’ll miss him. He has been a crucial part of our midfield since he arrived and I don’t think we have another player like him. It’s definitely true to say that he’s been used a lot less this year and was no longer one of the first names on the team sheet. Whether this is because he was unsettled and planning to leave or whether Oniki just thought we had better players available I don’t know. Either way, I think I can go down the blame Oniki route, as has recently been my style. It can’t be a great motivator to see your place in the team being taken by a youngster in their first season. Morita is definitely a talent, one for the future and has put in some great performances already, but I’m not sure I’d be picking him over Neto. But now we don’t have any other option. Hopefully Oshima will return to us from the World Cup unscathed and untransferred. If he does somehow catch another club’s eye and leaves, we could be very short in that area of the pitch. Hopefully, this is the last of the big name departures. Any more, and you’d have to start believing something rotten is going on. If we had a replacement lined up, I guess that would put a different spin on it but I don’t know if we’ll be getting in anyone in. I noticed a J League club had put in a bid for a Brazilian defensive midfielder called Willian Arao (I think), but the player turned the move down (I think). Hopefully that wasn’t us lining up Neto’s replacement and letting him go before the new player’s deal was confirmed.

Anyway, good luck Neto! You’ll certainly be missed by me and I think by the team, in terms of your presence on the pitch.

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