Each year Avispa usually get one player who is probably a little higher profile than other new recruits, and a lot of the hopes for the season sit with this player. We’ve seen players like Makoto Tanaka, Sho Naruoka, Daisuke Sakata, Masahiro Koga arrive at the club, and it has been the one transfer which stands out from the others (we haven’had one of these ‘flagship’ signings for the last couple of years due to the club having no money, maybe Kanakubo Jun in 2013 had a little bit more expectation that others).
Of these slightly bigger signings Avispa have mostly failed to sign the right players, and of the list which I wrote only Daisuke Sakata could be really be seen as a successful signing.
This year I thought that Hokuto Nakamura was the obvious ‘big’ signing, but yesterday it was announced we had another as Vegalta Sendai’s long time #9 Takayuki Nakahara has signed at the club.
While he appears to be a bit of a non-scoring #9 he has been playing at a moderately successful club for over 10 years, clocking up 199 league appearances and will probably now be in our top wage-earners along with Jogo, Koga, Hokuto and Hirai.
His goal ratio isn’t the best, but if you look at the times when Sendai have been down in J2 he does manage to score about 1 in 6 at this level (compared to 1 in 10 in J1), but I think he hes been brought in to do a lot more than just score goals.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote that what I thought we needed to sign (in addition to a decent centre-back; but I’m optimistic about Mizuki Hamada) was a tall powerful centre-forward who is able to score with his head and hold the ball up for others to run onto. It appears that this is exactly the sort of player that Takayuki Nakahara is at 181cm and physically strong, with a strong shot. Apparently he has been compared (quite bizarrely) to 90s Chilean striker Ivan Zamorano. At 47 years old I’d probably still welcome Zamorano to Avispa, so if he can be anything like that sort of player he could do well.
He has a few of his goals on youtube which show that as well as being tall he is able to jump…
But we will still need someone able to get crosses in to him.
He has strength to hold up the ball, and a powerful shot…
And certainly likes to use his head and is willing to try and score…
As bad as the defending and goal-keeping is here, there is plenty more terrible goal-keeping in J2 which can be exploited if players are willing to shoot.