Our defence has improved a lot since Pusnik came to the club. The season before he arrived we were the 2nd worst in the entire division behind only Gainare, but in reality we have nearly the same players (or possibly even worse) since that season.
It is an area of the team which I think needs perhaps the most attention. We have nobody in midfield, but without spending a lot of money are always going to get a similar sort of player there. We already are spending quite a lot of money in defence (primarily in flop Koga) and it is still hemorrhaging goals and giving the team an uphill struggle in almost every match.
While we need to buy a midfield, we need to try to get rid of a poor defence and build a new one.
#2 – Yuta Mishima – Keep. He has quite serious deficiencies in his game. He loses all composure when crossing. He gets caught wrong side of attackers for crosses. He has the physique of a 14 year old. But he also has enough about him that I would keep him at the club. I presume he doesn’t cost too much, and when in attack does have some nice quick feet.
I wonder if the Gareth Bale solution is needed for him (remove all defnce by putting him in midfield), but he would have to spend an hour every day practicing crossing to do that.
#3 – Takumi Abe – Leave Struts around the place like a player who should by all rights be amongst the top teams in J1, but in reality is a podgy, J2 makeweight. Is as small as you’d expect from a Japanese full-back, but is actually not so bad in the air. His problems come from just giving the ball away in stupid places and not seeming to have the intelligence to work in a formation.
FC Tokyo won’t want him, neither will Avispa, he’ll be playing for Mito within 6 months (and probably still thinking he doesn’t need to listen to any advice).
#4 – Lee Kwang Seon – Keep (but only on a transfer) The guy has heart, and a talent for getting his head onto things and attacking the ball. Unfortunately he is Korean which means that Japanese referees are going to book him for being taller than Japanese guys. Leads J2 for yellow cards, and looks at times like he doesn’t know what he is getting booked for. I still rate the guy, and am amazed he hasn’t got injured. Seemed to play better when he had his legs strapped up. Not good enough for Kobe.
#5 – Masahiro Koga – Retire I said it last season, things have only got worse in the 12 months since. Offer the guy a 5 year contract if he wants to stay in Fukuoka, but only if he agrees to a lower deal and to never play for the first team but instead coaches the U-14 team. The most important thing for any team is to make sure a player’s legs go for someone else not you. Koga’s legs went 2 years ago.
#13 – Park Gun – Back to Korea Now this is one which is surprising me as I write it, but I think he should leave the club. I actually like Park Gun, both in dfence, midfield, and increasingly so at corners, but he doesn’t look like someone who is enjoying his time in Japan. He doesn’t contest referees making stupid decisions, he looks a little shy in face of opposition players, and as much as I liked his post-match interview in Japanese against Toyama I just get the impression he’d be better off playing for Seoul FC.
#17 – Kazuki Yamaguchi – Keep If I was surprised by Park Gun, I’m even more surprised to be saying that Kazuki should stay; but the guy has the one attribute which is missing more than anything else among the playing staff at Avispa: heart.
He hasn’t let the team down whenever he has played this season, he tries to gee up the players when others look like they want to be in the ramen shop, and if you cut him open he’d read Avispa. Avispa fans don’t need big wins or promotion, but I’d pay to see Kazuki make me cheer, laugh or cry every week.
#18 – Oh Chang Hyon – Job at Lawsons This guy has now been ostracised by 4 managers at 2 different clubs even though they all had no-one else to play at right-back. The kid is a joke. Has all the gifts needed to play at this level, but just can’t listen and do what it takes to put it together.
#19 – Shunsuke Tsutsumi – Leave A controversial one, but I’ve just had enough now. Another guy who has absolutely all the gifts (Oh If I could put Mishima’s heart in his body…) but doesn’t seem to be able to do a job. Was an absolute joke in 2012 and most supporters wanted him out (There was a standing joke that he took Naruoka’s shirt), but then blossomed as Pusnik gave him more responsibility. Has then thrown it all away in the last 12 months as he has allowed his concentration to drop, and looks like a player who knows he can get a contract elsewhere and just doesn’t care.
#21 – Eijiro Takeda – Keep (but only on a transfer) A player who I heard lived in England and speaks English. I hope he reads this page and does everything he can to stay at the club. Has had an underwhelming career to now, but this season has been allowed to show his versatility, his ability at set-pieces and a long throw. I’d prefer to see him at left-back, but the fact that he will have offers this close season is just because of the opportunities he has been given.
#24 – Yuya Mitsunaga – Keep Has the potential to be the only bright point from this season. Has only played a handful of games, but still got more than he would under a Japanese manager. I think he is the best crosser of the ball from open play, and has the intelligence within a game to spot the cross he should make.
Who would I bring in?
Nara (Consadole Sapporo) – A fantasy land signing, and one which I mentioned last year as well, but if you took the money which the club are spending on over-the-hill 35 year olds like Makoto Tanaka or Koga and offered it to the best young defender in J2 (after Wataru Endo goes to J1) then we have someone to mount an attack on the play-offs with.
Havenaar (Nagoya Grampus – loan) – I don’t believe you can get a tall foreigner to play as centre-back, all that Lee Kwang Seon has hown this year is that referees are going to blow fouls for being taller than Japanese players. In light of this let’s try to get a guy who can talk to the referees and is 1m98 tall. His older bother came to Avispa on loan and it didn’t seem to do him any harm, let’s go for another.
Ueda (Kashima Antlers – loan) – With a similar sort of idea to Havenaar, this is another tall centre-back who could come and get games. I saw him when the U-23 team played us in August and I think it was him who scored. Won absolutely everything in the air at the back, was houting all game, and had a big jump on him at set-pieces. Would walk straight into out team even though he’s only 20 years old.
Noda (Nagasaki) – A Fukuoka native we were linked with last season he has the sort of crossing ability which we need form our full backs. Maybe hasn’t enjoyed Nagasaki as much as he thought he would after they couldn’t follow up their decent first season with any sort of consistency this year. Full-backs who can cross is so important to our game plan for next season.
Kingsley Udoh (Kano Pillars) / Usman Amodu (Free Agent) – I can’t claim to know anything about these players, or provide any veracity as to whether they would be good for us or not, but include them mainly as examples of what exists beyond the world of signing ex-J1 defenders, Korean University players or Brazilian regional league players.
Japan has seemed to ignore the continent of Africa almost entirely when it comes to football and Avispa could lead the way in starting up scouting of this huge resource. These players have been capped by the national team, but have floated from Atletico Madrid to Lyon, to Olympiakos, Rostock, Uruguay and Colombia by the age of 23.
Does the fact Penarol rejected them mean they couldn’t do a job at Avispa? Possibly, but as a resource we should be thinking that we could look in places where other clubs and agents aren’t.