With all of our offseason business apparently done (no fourth foreigner, right?) and preseason now in full swing, I decided to ask some of my fellow J.League bloggers about some high profile players who have left their former clubs to sign on at FC Tokyo.
Here in Part 1 you'll read some really interesting stuff from Brendan of the terrific Yokohama blog Tricolore Pride on Kazuma Watanabe and Aria Jasuru Hasegawa. It appears we've got two potentially excellent young players on our hands that Yokohama may end up regretting letting go of. My thanks go out to Brendan for giving such detailed answers on very short notice.
In Part 2 coming later this week we'll hear from Nick, the man behind the brilliant Verdy blog Tokyo Nerdy 1969 on Hiroki Kawano, and Barry from the excellent S-Pulse UK Ultras blog on Kosuke Ota, but for now lets get stuck in on Kazuma and Aria.
- thanks Brendan from Tricolore Pride
We could understand the letting go of Aria because we had plenty of potential players that can work his position but many of us were surprised to see that Watanabe was on the way out. Kazuma is a talented striker and certainly somebody we would want to keep but I guess the club decided that we need more experience over guts in front of goal. Frankly, I'm still puzzled by the decision.
How important were they to the setup last season?
Not really to be honest. Kazuma was criminally underused/misused and Aria was playing an average of one game every 3 weeks so it's hard to say how important they were to our campaign last season to be honest...
Did Watanabe get too big for his boots after his strong debut season?
No. I think the manager got too big for his! When you have somebody as capable as that in the squad, you'd be a fool to not make the most of such a player. Unfortunately though, Coach Kimura felt that Oguro was the man for our goals and so he pretty much indefinitely took Kazuma's position as the one-top/lone striker. Kazuma was underused and when he did play, he was tucked behind either Oguro or Ono.