Two players have left the club for pastures new today.
As rumored earlier in the week Genki has gone to try and make an impression alongside Mike Havenaar and Paulinho at Ventforet Kofu, while a big surprise to me is that Nakajima has been picked up by Kashima Reysol leaving us with a totally new left side next season.
Sorry to see him go as he was our top scorer last season and probably the only person with a chance of getting Player of the Season other than Nakamachi, but it doesn’t really surprise me that he is leaving as he didn’t always look happy despite having the best season of his career.
He has said that he wasn’t really impressed with training at Avispa, didn’t like the way certain people left the club (probably Jumbo), and wanted a new challenge. I don’t think it is a coincidence that he has played his whole career in the Tokyo area and is now returning there.
I’m not sure if it will work out for him in Kofu. While he has had a great season for us it may well be looked back upon as the best season of his career. He scored a lot of goals, but also drifted out of games quite a lot and doesn’t really ever demand the ball or turn the full back as often as he should.
While it was always a possibility that Genki might leave I am amazed that Nakaji is going.
He is well liked by the Avispa crowd, but it is more as an acknowledgment of his effort and fallibility rather than appreciation of a great player.
He likes to try to push on, and is always on the lookout for free-kicks, but despite being announced as the set piece specialist before every game he has only ever scored once for Avispa.
That doesn’t show the numerous assists he has got this season, but there are plenty of players who can deliver a good ball and probably many who can defend better than him while doing so.
Having been impressed by the organisation of Kashima’s fluid defence when they came to Level-5 Stadium I think they might get a bit of a shock as he gets caught out of position quite frequently. I had been worried about him going into J1, but now it is someone elses problem. They will be getting someone capable of a killer pass, but who may coast you more goals than he creates.
On a more positive note Hideya and Yamagata have both signed new deals and I’d take both over Nakaji.