The new season is fast approaching and I still haven't really finished the posts about last season so I'd better get a move on. Here are some words about the players that have left us and have joined us, with a photo cheekily nicked from the Frontale Twitter account. I don't really know if Maguinho fits into this post anywhere as he is still our player but has extended his loan spell at Yokohama FC. As there's not a category for that, I'll just mention it here.
3. TSUKAGAWA Koki
26 year old midfielder signed from Matsumoto Yamaga. Quite tall, which will make a change in our midfield. The internet suggests he can play anywhere through the middle from defensive midfield right up to striker. His squad number suggests that he might be doing some time in defence too perhaps. Scored nine goals in 29 games for Yamaga last year which is a pretty impressive haul. Have heard that he’s a bit of a niggly player and likes a foul but doesn’t get many cards. To be honest, we could probably do with someone like that.
6. JOAO SCHMIDT
Left-footed defensive midfielder signed from Nagoya Grampus. A transfer that has been held up as a bit of a coup in certain places. Played 24 times for them in the league last year and scored once, getting only a couple of yellow cards which is quite encouraging considering his position. Another player who is quite tall so it looks like we’re thinking about getting a bit more physical in midfield with the ACL in mind. Would imagine he will take Morita’s place in the anchor role.
17. KOZUKA Kazuki
Right sided attacking midfielder signed from Oita Trinita. Only played eight times for them last year, scoring once and providing one assist. His absence didn’t seem to be due to injury so make of that what you will. Perhaps he will be another signing like Shimoda was, where we sign a player from a lower finishing team who didn’t really get much playing time at his former club and then is used mainly as a sub for us. Or maybe he’ll make a claim for a starting spot. Interesting yet at the same time somehow absolutely classic Frontale signing.
19. TONO Daiya
A player who we signed last year, but immediately sent out to Avispa Fukuoka on a season long loan and he tore the place up! I think Avispa were quite disappointed to not be able to hold on to him. Only 21 so still young and came to us from Honda FC where he was considered a hot prospect. Scored 11 times in J2 last year for Avispa and got three assists. Pretty small (165cm), so probably would be played more on the wing in our 4-1-2-3 than up front in the middle, but who knows, maybe we might have some tactical flexibility next season. Quite an exciting prospect for us if he gets a chance as he’ll probably give us something different from Kobayashi or Damiao.
20. CHINEN Kei
Chinen needs no introduction to anyone apart from very new fans. He spent last season on loan at Oita where he took part in 29 games and scored three goals. I say took part because most of his appearances seemed to be as a sub. Not sure quite how much experience he will have picked up from a year on the bench at a different club but to be honest, I wasn’t really sure why we loaned him out in the first place either. Used to be very much in Oniki’s plans but drifted out of them quite dramatically. We’ll see if he’s back in them or this will be another season of frustration for him.
22. TACHIBANADA Kento
Was nominally with us last year but didn’t take part in any games and this will be his rookie season for us. Comes to us from Toin university and is apparently a right footed defensive midfielder. Scored twice in four Emperor’s Cup appearances in the last couple of years, but as the games were first and second round matches mainly against other universities I’m not sure how significant or useful that info is. Perhaps he’ll be the new Morita. Expect to see him at right back soon!
24. MIYAGI Ten
Frontale youth product who we saw play in a cup game at Todoroki a couple of seasons ago. Plays as a striker but to be honest I can’t remember much about the game I saw him play in. The internet tells me he is a left winger/attacker, so the new Manabu perhaps ie. will spend most of the season waiting for an opportunity behind Mitoma and Hasegawa and maybe Hatate in the pecking order. Or perhaps not, maybe he’ll be this year’s Mitoma. Spent last season on loan at Kataller Toyama where he played 20 times and got three goals and five assists which seems a pretty decent first season in professional football.
30. TANABE Shuto
Another defensive signing! Which is very welcome, but maybe he’s going to be this season’s Kamiya, in other words, completely unused. Only 18 years old and a centre back, which let’s be honest is an area we’re very short in. Comes from the same Shizuoka Gakuen school that Oshima and Hasegawa did which has got to be a good sign, hasn’t it?
40. Kyung-Tae LEE
Joined us last year from Fagiano Okayama after Fujishima left us. With very little rotation in between the sticks last year it is unsurprising that he didn’t get a chance. It’s a lazy comparison but the fact that he’s Korean might suggest he is the long term replacement for Sung-Ryong, but the comparison is so lazy that it is based on absolutely nothing other than his nationality. Pretty much the only other thing I can say for sure about him is that he’s a goalkeeper.
LOAN FINISHED AND MOVING ON
Signed with a bit of a fanfare amid great competition from other clubs. Always seemed like a great ‘mood maker’ but that was the extent of his involvement for us. Perhaps made the bench once if I recall correctly. Went on successive season long loans to Gifu (where he hardy played) and Gamba Osaka U23 (where he played a lot in a quite leaky defence). Delighted I finally got to see him play for Gamba U23 against Kagoshima after going to Gifu and him not being involved. Not so delighted for him that his team conceded 6 goals that day. Now has a permanent move to Mito where hopefully he can finally get his career going properly. Good luck!
Made a few appearances a couple of years ago before being loaned out to V-Varen Nagasaki. Seemed very popular there and was mentioned in a few places as being their player of the season in 2020. Therefore it didn't come as much of a surprise to hear that he has joined them permanently. Good luck to him!