I will go through the issues that Marijan Pusnik and the rest of the management staff need to resolve in the next few weeks to get ready for Season 2013.
The first thing I think he will need to address is Naruoka Sho.
I would say that Naruoka is the best player at the club.
His competition for that title would come from Jogo, who can be amazing and has hometown support but goes missing from games; and Sakata, who started last season showing he can score goals for fun at this level but then went totally out of confidence.
Anyone looking at stats, and maybe even how they have played for the last 2 seasons would say I was crazy to think Naruoka is the best, but I feel he has always played slightly out of position, and not had players around him on the same wavelength as him.
Technically, creatively and tactically I think he is the best payer at the club; but only if he is used in the right way.
Pusnik needs to decide if he wants to play to his strengths, and then build a formation and squad around him based on those strengths.
Asking him to try and do a job on a wing, or stick to a formation which doesn’t serve him just isn’t going to get the best out of him.
Firstly, he needs to find out if Naruoka wants to stay. If he doesn’t, or needs to be convinced then it is an easy answer. Let him leave, don’t try and convince him to stay. He is an opinionated player who is happy to tell people what they are doing wrong; you don’t want him around if he isn’t 100% behind the whole process.
Secondly, decide if you want to play in a formation which will utilise him to his best. He doesn’t/can’t stick to a formation. I believe the only place he could be played is as a 2nd striker, free-floating trequartista role. The freedom this will allow him to find space, use his soft-feet, and try to thread balls through or drive into the box is exactly the position he can do.
It was the position he played in his very first game for the club (which he was quite unlucky to get sent off in), and hasn’t ever been used in much since.
This formation could be a 4411, a 4231, 352, anything which requires a free-floating, central attacking midfielder.
Finally, the squad needs to be filled with players who are going to be able to keep up with his elaborate passing patterns. It will need players to be signed who have a much better first touch than are currently at the club, and then have extensive passing drills in training to practice the quick, triangular passing which can be transferred into games.
Players like Kazuki and Koga, and even Nishida, who are already signed need to get the ball to these competent passers quickly, and without trying to do it themselves.
It would be a huge job to make it work, but we would be one of the most sttractive passing teams in Japan, and have the player who can make it happen at the club, albeit one who has not been used correctly for 2 years.