If the best thing which could have happened this close season was Pusnik staying then the second best was that Sakata would stay.
Some people might be looking more closely at Jogo, or who we might be able to bring in, but for me the best player at the club is Sakata. There are no clubs in J2 who wouldn’t want to have him in their squad for his ability, his team-work, and his experience. I would also say that they they have now got a dead-cert for Captain unless they can use that to pull in someone really quality from J1.
Sakata still hasn’t totally rediscovered his best scoring form but last season was actually his best season in terms of goal-scoring with 11 goals. I honestly believe that if he clicks he could get over 20 for the season next year.
Every time he played last year we looked better as a team with his hold-up play and link-up to others being outstanding. He rarely gives the ball away, and is willing to shoot at goal with either foot and his head.
He seemed to have a target on his head for referees at times last season with some bizarre fouls given against him when defenders climbed all over the back of him, but after the horrible refereeing season we just went through maybe those decisions will ‘even out’.
He is likely to be asked to play in a rotating front 3 next season, and probably start on the left of that for most games, but hopefully this very positive signing is some measure of what is to come and we will be hearing from Jogo, Tsutsumi, and some new players soon.