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Monday, June 27, 2011

He's Back!

ルーカス東京復帰 J1昇格の切り札に - J2ニュース
We're very excited to see you again, too!
The kit has changed, and so will the number, but all FC Tokyo supporters are abuzz with the news that former Aji Sta hero Lucas will once again don a red and blue shirt. After persistent injuries caused the club to terminate the loan contract of Pedro Junior, we needed to find a swift replacement with Sota Hirayama and Daiki Takamatsu still a couple of months away from returning, and Lucas has answered the bat call, and is at training as I type this!

(Right...deep breaths...) I first heard the news yesterday morning courtesy of @MarioUrawa on twitter (he's a Urawa fan, but we'll forgive him this once, eh?) who tweeted a photo of an article from Nikkan Sports that said the big man was on his way back to the capital. It was still just a rumour obviously, and with the official puppet newspaper of the club, Tokyo Chunichi Sports, saying nothing, we were left to wonder if it was true.

My initial reaction was that the move made a lot of sense, as in the absence of Sota and his deputy Daiki we had lacked a real target man. Roberto Cesar, while a good player in his own right, wasn't signed to play as a lone frontman and certainly seems more comfortable operating a bit deeper, attacking from the flanks (quite similar to Cabore in that regard). Lucas, never the fastest and at 32 certainly not getting any faster (!) would appear to be the ideal type to lead the line alongside The Salad.

While we wondered how Nikkan had scooped ToChu (Had the club told the latter not to publish the story yesterday? I wondered...) the news was confirmed via a tweet from a man on the inside at Gamba Osaka, @JSoccerMagazine (Alan Gibson):

"Lucas is already in Tokyo and has signed his contract for #fct #FCTokyo
 confirmed by friends at Gamba who have spoken!"

Lucas had spent three years at Gamba, of course, after leaving us at the end of 2007, before returning to his homeland earlier this year and officially retiring on May 11th while registered with one of his former clubs, Atletico Paranaense.

That confirmation from Alan sent the #FCTokyo twitter tag into a frenzy, and this morning ToChu finally came good with a story, including the juicy info that Gamba had also made Lucas an offer to return, as they've just lost Adriano to Qatar. But luckily for us, our second all-time J.League top scorer - with 48  league goals between 2004 & 2007 - has chosen to come home.

When Lucas will be ready to play is questionable, but seeing as though he's at training today you'd have to say there's at least a slight chance he'll be ready to make the bench on Saturday evening at home to Tottori, although perhaps the game at Oita the weekend after is more likely.

I'll have more to say on the tactical implications of his return in later posts, but for now, please join me in saying....
Welcome home Lucas!

Update 4.40pm Here is at training, with thanks to @tokyoloves on twitter. WAHEY!


  1. This is good news, it is good news as the club are clearly serious about making sure we get up this year and they haven't just let PJ's wage go on something else, like free Dorompa key holders or something. I will be delighted to see him back too, although I think that feeling will mostly be a large dose of Natsukashisa, as if I am being honest I do remember him as being hit and miss. BUT, he did seem to do very well at Gamba and it is J2 so I am expecting he will do a great job. As you say it makes sense from a tactical point of view.

  2. Yeah I didn't give management enough praise in the piece, but #swallows pride# they've done an excellent job getting such an experienced player back to the club, clearly filling a need after PJ left.
    When he's fit enough to start games you'd think we'd revert to 4-4-2, which is the best formation for our personnel in my opinion. The Salad can run around as he pleases while Lucas holds the fort.
    The "feel-good" factor has got to be worth something too, as the fans are buzzing!
    Up the Gas!