The last group of players to look at; which players should we keep to score the goals to put us challenging for the play-offs?
#10 – Hisashi Jogo.
Out figure-head and best player for the last 3 seasons, the man who has come to symbolise Fukuoka and is as loved as any player in our history.
Has shown this season that he isn’t just a flighty forward capable of amazing goals, he can get stuck in and do as much in defence and neutralising opposition players (Yasuhito Endo has had few tougher days this season) as he can in making goals from nothing.
Has a tough decision to make now. If he signs another contract then he will end up a one-club man, if he goes then he will have a last chance for glory. He clearly loves the club, but what he ends up doing has to be totally personal to him.
My Opinion – Release. Maybe the most controversial of all the players at the club, but I think he should be allowed to go.
If we show players like Ishizu, or those who have left like Suzuki, Yusuke, Genki, that you can be the main player at a club until 27 and then move onto something incredible then that is better than staying for 2 seasons to fail to make the bench at Sagan Tosu.
Has had offers from FC Tokyo, Sanfrecce Hironshima and lots of others in recent years. Maybe now is the time to leave with the blessing of the fans to have a chance to prove himself on the biggest stage.
#11 – Daisuke Sakata
Sakata is our other very good player, but is in a slightly different situation. He has been at the top, tried his hand overseas, and now come back to Japan at the tail end of his career.
He has the chance now to stay at a club who wants him for the next 4-5 years and end his career with a set of fans who idolise him.
The alternative is to flit from club to club for 2-3 years and see his career slowly die out.
In his first season for us he rarely lasted beyond 60 minutes. This season he has been working much harder, and particularly when captain put in some good performances.
My Opinion – Keep. It’ll cost some money but both for performances on the pitch and influence on young players he is worth trying to find the cash to get him to stay, and make as Captain.
#15 – Bratislav Punosevac.
A very tough one. He looks to have absolutely everything we need in terms of being a tall, strong striker who has good hold-up and link-up play, but then hasn’t set J2 alight since arriving.
A lot of that has been due to a lack of service, and has at times looked like players don’t want to pass to him.
Has a lot to prove, but if we could sign him on a low retainer with a decent goal bonus then I’d totally go for it.
My Opinion – Keep. His first 2 games looked like he could be a huge player, but then went off the boil a bit. Maybe with a full pre-season and the correct contract could be a 25 goal a season player and end up at an Asian Champions League club in 12 months.
#16 – Daisuke Ishizu.
Lots of these strikers are very difficult to call. Ishizu would seem like an obvious choice after the goals he has scored this season, but he does sometimes look like he is playing for himself and the camera rather than the team.
You could say the same for Cristiano Ronaldo, but then he does so much that it is worth it. To be so individual does put an extra pressure to make a final product. At the moment I’d say he is definitely worth it, but needs to know that he isn’t the finished product; Sueyoshi didn’t realise that and will now never make it as a professional footballer. He finished 2nd place in J2 Rookie of the year; Ishizu certainly won’t ever do that, but already seems to rate himself higher.
My Opinion – Keep. But the guy needs to make sure he has his feet firmly on the floor. Everyone has liked the goals he has scored this season, but we all preferred the guy who cried after coming on in his debut season and tried his hardest but couldn’t change the game.
#18 – Go Nishida
A trier, but really not very goos. He sometimes seems capable of some great composure, and deceiving ability in the air, but at other times has the worst first touch of a professional footballer I have ever seen.
Does a lot of good around the squad, and if he is on a cheap enough contract then that is probably enough to stay on as a squad player.
My Opinion – Keep. Totally reliable, and sometimes effective squad player to come off the bench but needs to be paid accordingly.
#24 – Takeshi Kanamori.
Along with Mishima and Nakahara are the players we need to sign to a 3-4 year contract and be showing to other young players that if you come to this club you get trips to Spain and Myanmar to play for your country.
Got better and better as the season went on, and has ust the right amount of arrognace and self confidence to be a top striker. Needs to make sure he still listens, but could be one of the players moving to a J1 club in 3 years of things continue to go well.
My Opinion – Keep. Fairly obvious, but this is exactly the sort of player we should be keeping and signing on a long term contract if possible.
What the squad would look like…
So after all that I have kept almost all of the forwards. The only one who I would say to release is Jogo and that isn’t because I want to but because he deserves to try his luck in an absolute top club. If anyone outside a club trying to win J1 comes in then he shouldn’t leave.
If a chance to get someone else good in, (please Hirayama, take a pay cut and show everyone what you can do) then I’d lose Nishida Go, but the reality is that in our current financial situation we can’t get anyone better than what we already have.