Today we have some information and some dodgy photos, (screenshots from the official club new season ceremony, hope that’s not a problem...), on the players that are joining us this year and the ones who are leaving. There’s not a great deal of info available on some of them so please excuse me if there’s not much of interest but I’ve done my best. The 2021 season survey results will be up soon-ish and then we can get on with the new season I guess.
15. Asahi SASAKI (DF)
179cm tall left back signed from Ryutsu Keizai University, (former team of Morita and Tsukagawa), who can apparently also play at centre back and it is thought can be trained to play at right back too. Guess Oniki likes players who can play in many positions so he has this in his favour. At the same time, Oniki isn’t a big fan of playing young defenders so I imagine he won’t be getting much pitch time in 2022, but am interested to see how he develops.
16. Tatsuki SEKO (MF)
Right-footed central midfielder signed from Yokohama FC. He was one of their players of the season last year and was also their captain. Seems to be able to play anywhere in the middle and can fill in at right back too, so finally we might actually have some cover there. Only scored once last year but got seven assists, and you have to take into consideration that was in a YFC team that didn’t score that much. Played for 64 minutes against us for Meiji University in the Emperor’s Cup in 2018 in a game where they deserved a lot more than they got. Looking forward to seeing how he gets on and where he’ll be playing.
18. Chanathip SONGKRASIN (FW)
Our first Thai player (I think…), signed from Consadole in what was apparently the biggest transfer ever between two J League teams. Clearly there are more than just footballing reasons for the value of this transfer. Chanathip’s presence will give the club a huge boost financially, and hopefully he can contribute on the pitch too. In the past I did feel that maybe he would be a good fit with us as he’s good on the ball and likes to attack. He also seemed to have a good relationship with Kengo. If we want to be negative, in recent seasons he’s had some injury issues so maybe he’s going to be another Oshima. But from a positive point of view, he’s done pretty well in a Consadole team that hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, so hopefully in a system that suits him, he’ll really be able to shine. And you’d think he would fit in well, as if there was one team in the J League where an attack minded not very tall player would feel at home it definitely would be with us! Not sure exactly where he’ll be playing but I’m sure he’ll be involved. And it's starting to look like we’re trying to assemble a nice guys 11, as him and Damiao in the same team will ensure high level likability for us. Maybe.
22. Yuki HAYASAKA (GK)
Was a special designated player, (think that's what it is called), last year which meant he had a squad number but didn’t get any match day involvement which isn’t surprising given that he’s a keeper and even our second choice keeper was hardly involved. Ex-Frontale youth player so a familiar face but left us briefly to go to Toin University (where Issaka, Tachibanada and Yamane all went), before rejoining us properly this year. Again, unlikely to get much involvement but good luck to him.
25. Renji MATSUI (MF)
The most well known fact about our new number 25 is that he has a famous sister who is a singer, actress and model. Like Hayasaka he was a special designated player for us last year but this year has joined properly from Hosei University. Has also played for the Japan U23 team so has some pedigree. Although that was only for two contrasting games. One, he stayed on the bench, and the other he was captain and scored twice. Plays in central midfield, and predominately further back so will be up against Tachibanada and Joao Schmidt in 2022 unless we change our system. But his international goals might suggest that he can do the business further forward too.
26. Takatora EINAGA (FW)
Forward signed from Kokoku high school. Not the tallest, so should fit in well with most of our other forwards! Not sure where he plays or much about him at all to be honest. Apart from the fact that he has a pretty full on first name (Hawk Tiger). Not sure if this is reflected in his playing style.
28. Taiyo IGARASHI (FW)
Forward promoted from our U18 team. Saw him play once and was quite impressed with him. Think on that day he was playing slightly behind the front man but was involved all over the pitch perhaps in an Ienaga way. Looked very comfortable on the ball and scored a very nice goal. Again, probably one who will have limited opportunities this year but wouldn’t be surprised to see him involved at the end of a few games and if he can make an impact, maybe a bit more often than that. But there are a lot of forwards in our squad now who will all be hoping to do that.
29. Kouta TAKAI (DF)
Late addition to the squad from the U18 team. Played at centre back in the same game that we saw Igarashi in and I thought he looked pretty good. He is VERY tall (194cm).
After not getting much time on the pitch in 2021, Zain has gone on loan for the season to Yokohama FC. Hopefully he can pick up some experience and come back stronger. Good luck to him
Pretty much the same as Zain so I’ll pretty much just cut and paste. After not getting hardly any time on the pitch in 2021, Kaito has gone on loan for the season to J3 Fujieda MYFC. Hopefully he can pick up some experience and come back stronger. Good luck to him
Was unlucky in 2021 in that after he transferred on loan to Gainare Tottori they changed their manager which seemed to limit his opportunities somewhat. For the 2022 season he’ll be on loan at Nagano Parceiro where he’ll hopefully get more of a look in. Good luck!
Some expected Miyashiro to come back to us for the 2022 season after he’d done pretty well at Tokushima Vortis in 2021, where he played 32 games and scored seven times. The fact that he’s been sent out on loan again might discourage him, but the fact that it’s to another J1 club, (Sagan Tosu this time), is encouraging. I think he is considered a serious prospect for the future with us, so it makes sense for him to be playing games and gaining experience. Good luck!
I don’t think Ao has mixed feelings about his transfer to a team fighting relegation in the German second tier but I think that unless he leaves for a better team at the end of the season it’s not going to be a great move for him. But then again I am bitter. Seems to be involved in most of their games. Officially he’s at Dusseldorf on a loan, but I don’t expect he’ll be coming back to us any time soon.
Transferred to Brighton in the English Premier League and then immediately went out on loan to Royal Union St Gilloise in the Belgian top flight. Has been involved with most of their games and has scored five times, including one hat trick. I’ve heard he’s being played as a wing back though which might not exactly be the European dream he was hoping for. His time in Belgium is almost certainly just to get the necessary points on his footballing visa to be able to play in England next season. Not sure if that will be with Brighton or whether he can expect another loan period before then.
Not particularly happy in my spoilt brat way about my 2021 shirt player transferring to a Postecoglou team but hey ho. Perhaps he’ll end up getting a title but as with Ao, I’m not sure it’s a massive step up in terms of level from the J League. Especially for 10/11ths of the games he’s going to play. I’ll grudgingly wish him luck, but if that could coincide with a total disaster for Postecoglou that would be perfect for me!
Returned to South Korea to do his military service without ever getting a look in with us. Hope it was a worthwhile experience for him. Perhaps we’ll see him again one day, but I’m not sure.
Perhaps the biggest departure of the off-season. The writing appeared to be on the wall for him after he didn’t have any involvement at all after his penalty miss against Ulsan in the ACL. But then again, I thought I’d probably writing the same thing about Joao Schmidt and he’s stayed. Feel a little sorry for him as he got injured when he was playing amazingly at the start of the 2020 season. Since coming back he hasn’t quite got back to his previous heights and couldn’t take advantage of the departure of Mitoma. Feel that he probably needs a new club and a new start to get his career going again, but am sad to see him go. Good luck to him at Yokohama FC in J2 next season. I suspect he’ll have a great year and will be back in J1 sooner or later, whether that is with YFC or someone else.
Has now returned to Brazil after being on loan at Yokohama FC for two seasons. Never thought he really got a fair crack of the whip with us but clearly it doesn’t make sense for us to have a foreign player who was presumably on decent wages sitting on the bench or more likely in the stands while Oniki played Yamane till he drops. Feel like we need to slightly apologise to him as I don’t think he did anything wrong and wish him all the best back in Brazil.