Wednesday, January 17, 2007

J-League News January 17 2007

David Beckham's multi-million dollar transfer from Real Madrid to L.A. Galaxy
J-League transfers

Most of the headlines in world football have focused on David Beckham's multi-million dollar transfer from Real Madrid to L.A. Galaxy.

The major transfer news in Japan, however, is Yuki Abe's decision to leave JEF United for reigning J-League champions Urawa Reds.

Abe was undoubtedly the key player at JEF United and his talismanic performances inspired the club to back-to-back League Cup crowns in 2005 and 2006. His departure will leave a gaping hole in the United squad.

With Urawa midfielder Alessandro Santos signing for Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga, Abe could reasonably expect to slot straight into what is arguably the strongest midfield in Japan.

Another J-League player heading for Salzburg is ex-Gamba Osaka defender Tsuneyasu Miyamoto. The popular Miyamoto was made captain of Japan at the 2002 FIFA World Cup following an injury to Ryuzo Morioka. He also captained the national team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Ryuzo Morioka is another player on the move. After seeing little game-time at Shimizu S-Pulse last season, he has agreed to join J2 outfit Kyoto Sanga. Fellow former national team member Toshihide Saito is also on his way out of S-Pulse, joining J2 team Shonan Bellmare on loan.

Kashima Antlers have signed a trio of Brazilian players - as well as a new manager in Oswaldo de Oliveira. Former Shimizu S-Pulse striker Marquinhos makes Kashima his fifth different club in Japan, while Fabao and Danilo join from clubs in Brazil.

As expected, former Japan international Tatsuhiko Kubo has left Yokohama F. Marinos to join recently promoted cross-city rivals Yokohama FC. Kubo will replace Shoji Jo up front for Yokohama FC, after Jo - who won 36 caps for Japan, recently announced his retirement.

Yoshito Okubo has left relegated Cerezo Osaka to join recently promoted outfit Vissel Kobe. The former Real Mallorca striker claimed that the move was in the interests of resurrecting his national-team career.

In other transfer news, Gamba Osaka will be hoping that Bare can reproduce his prolific form this season, after signing him from J1 rivals Ventforet Kofu.

Oita Trinita have signed Serginho - once of FC Porto, as well as former FC Tokyo midfielder Masashi Miyazawa.

Masaki Fukai has left Kashima Antlers in the direction of Albirex Niigata on a one year loan deal, after finding his first team options limited at the four-time J-League champions.

Shimizu S-Pulse have brought in former Gamba Osaka midfielder Fernandinho on loan, as well as former FC Tokyo striker Mitsuhiro Toda, after FC Tokyo announced that they had signed Costa Rican World Cup star Paulo Wanchope.

The biggest transfer news nevertheless remains Yuki Abe's decision to move to Urawa. Many fans in Japan are hoping that Urawa do not turn the J-League into a one-horse race. With the calibre of the squad they are building, however, teams like Kawasaki Frontale and Gamba Osaka will have their work cut out for them, if they are to match the high-flying Saitama club in the coming season.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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