Market Week 2021 – World of Loans

2022 is gonna be interesting. It’ll be one to remember for many reasons: the probable arrival of a new pro-team in J3, the first consequences of the four relegations from and to J2, a returning 18 teams-format in J1 and the 30th season of professional football in Japan. Given the 2022 FIFA World Cup in December, also the calendar will be radically different, with the season taking place from early February to October.

This will inevitably impact the Winter transfer market window as well, with clubs that will have to move fast and surgically to fix their problems. But whether you’re in a relegation dogfight or just thinking how you can get to the top of your league, there will be many, many movements throughout the full Japanese football ladder.

That’s we’re gonna talk about in “Market Week”, a three-days festival over possible moves, why they should happen and the players to watch out for next Winter. For the second part, we talked about one of the most important resources in Japanese football: Loans.

They decide careers, they shape the history of players, sometimes they even end them. We decided to talk about six players who should go on loan to regain some confidence and six who should come back to their original clubs, because they proved their value in the last season or even years.

Another kid who could have been here, although there’s time.

Let’s start with the section “Push needed”, which features players between 19 and 24 years old, with less than 10 league games played until now and all coming from J1.

  • Yuya Fukuda
    Gamba Osaka
    Winger / Age: 22

The past: A promising class ’99, Fukuda has played a lot for the U-23 team of Gamba in J3, only to end up getting promoted to the senior team under Miyamoto. Unfortunately, since his sacking, Fukuda hasn’t gotten too many minutes on the pitch.

Why going on loan? Whoever is going to be the next head coach, Gamba seem to have too many players. Several youngsters – because of injuries or restricted pitch time – lost a full season. Fukuda was the most promising among them.

Possible destination: Surely J1. In the 3-4-2-1 of Petrovic in Sapporo, Fukuda could play several positions and found back his groove a little bit.

  • Masato Sasaki
    Kashiwa Reysol
    Goalkeeper / Age: 19

The past: It’s incredible how Sasaki represented one of the few bright lines of Kashiwa’s season. When Kim Seung-gyu committed too many mistakes and Takimoto wasn’t available, Nelsinho gave Sasaki his debut and the young keeper played an impressive game against Hiroshima.

Why going on loan? Despite that impressive debut, Kim Seung-gyu came back to the starting spot and Sasaki needs time to develop. He’s young, but he looked good. Without further games, we’ll never know how much he can turn those premises into reality.

Possible destination: A year in J2 wouldn’t hurt. If Giravanz Kitakyushu or Thespakusatsu Gunma hold on to their spot in the second tier, they both need a new keeper.

  • Taika Nakashima
    Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo
    Second striker / Age: 19

The past: Consadole have always had this feature: the ability of developing players born and raised in the Hokkaido Prefecture. The list is long, but Nakashima comes from Osaka, and he showed some promising signs in 2021, especially in the J. League Cup.

Why going on loan? Because the offensive department at Consadole is full. They would still need a better no. 9, but that can’t be Nakashima right now. He’ll have time to come back and impress the management.

Possible destination: J2, no doubt. Blaublitz Akita built their salvation on teamwork and their attacking choices are not that impressive, so adding Nakashima would definitely help.

  • Ryotaro Ito
    Urawa Red Diamonds
    Offensive midfielder / Age: 23

The past: A promising diamond coming from Urawa, Ito had a blasting year on loan at Mito HollyHock in 2018. He then joined Oita on loan to have the same progression in J1, but it didn’t work, and he lost two years not playing in Saitama.

Why going on loan? He’s already on loan (back to Mito), but he seems clear he needs as much pitch time as he could possibly gather.

Possible destination: The solution is already done here, because Ito is already on loan at Mito HollyHock and he should stay there in 2022, to find some rhythm.

  • Haruya Fujii
    Nagoya Grampus
    Center back / Age: 20

The past: Involved with Grampus since 2016, Fujii has played some matches in 2021, but nothing relevant.

Why going on loan? Because Maruyama, Nakatani, Kim Min-tae and Kimoto are not easy to overcome right now. As many competitions as Grampus could play in 2021, the space won’t be enough to play.

Possible destination: Fagiano Okayama could try to improve their playoffs chances by acquiring on loan Fujii and thus reinforcing their defense.

  • Yutaro Oda
    Vissel Kobe
    Offensive midfielder, Winger / Age: 20

The past: Born and raised in the Hyōgo Prefecture, Oda has been involved with Vissel since he joined their U-15 team. He then debuted as a pro in 2019 and he even scored one goal in J1 this season.

Why going on loan? Because it seems clear it’s going to be hard for youngsters to find space in an environment like Kobe. Most of them had to go on loan to play and it’s not even sure they’re able then to come back to their motherhouse.

Possible destination: Tochigi SC could really benefit from some youth, given that having Kisho Yano, Yohei Toyoda and Junki Hata won’t be enough to retain their J2 spot.

The other section is called “Veni, Vidi, Vici”, which features players who were on loan this season from J1 clubs and deserve to come back for a new chapter in their home teams.

  • Tatsuki Nara
    Avispa Fukuoka » Kashima Antlers
    Center back / Age: 28

The past: In an alternative timeline, Tatsuki Nara is a firm member of the national team and he’s probably playing as a starter. Instead, an injury ruined his development and he saw almost no pitch with Kashima, after successful stints with Consadole and Frontale.

Why coming back? Because Antlers seem short in the center back position. Inukai isn’t getting any younger; Machida is improving, but not as fast as someone expected; Sekigawa needs time to develop.

What to expect: He should be a starter, right away. He has the right amount of experience to turn things around and create stability for Antlers at the back.

  • Daigo Takahashi
    Giravanz Kitakyushu » Shimizu S-Pulse
    Winger / Age: 22

The past: Just like Hayao Kawabe – who spent three years on loan to Júbilo Iwata from Sanfrecce Hiroshima –, the long trip abroad for Takahashi has brought a lot. Even in a sketchy season like 2021, he’s been the difference for Giravanz.

Why coming back? His experience in J2 seems over. He has been part of a playoffs team and as well of a struggling relegation dogfight team. Nothing would change with another year in Kitakyushu, while S-Pulse need fresh blood.

What to expect: Just like Lotina did wonders for some careers (Sakamoto, just to mention one), Takahashi could learn a lot and develop from winger to midfielder. Furthermore, Kaneko is out on loan, Carlinhos hasn’t a clear role and the development of Kenta Nishizawa suddenly stopped.

  • Taisei Miyashiro
    Tokushima Vortis » Kawasaki Frontale
    Second striker / Age: 21

The past: Another prodigy coming from Frontale’s youth ranks, Miyashiro played several games in 2020 and then joined Tokushima on loan to having more pitch time. It worked, although not as gloriously as Kawasaki probably hoped for.

Why coming back? Miyashiro learned a lot in Tokushima: playing in different positions expanded his range of possibilities. After selling Mitoma, Frontale didn’t buy any replacement and Ten Miyagi would need a loan to a J1 team, like Miyashiro had in 2021.

What to expect: Being part of the rotation of THIS version of Frontale is already a lot. It helped Daiya Tono settling into Oniki’s system, it raised Ten Miyagi’s chances to start. It’ll help Miyashiro as well to further develop.

  • Kota Yamada
    Montedio Yamagata » Yokohama F. Marinos
    Winger / Age: 22

The past: Initially involved in the Postecoglou revolution, Yamada found himself away on loan for more than expected. A quick touch and go in Nagoya, a successful year with Mito HollyHock and now a confirm in Yamagata.

Why coming back? Because Marinos will definitely need a bigger squad for next year, a season where they’ll be expected to challenge for four trophies. Featuring Yamada as a back-up for Elber would be a nice add to the roster.

What to expect: Exactly what we’ve talked about. If he keeps rising like this, Yamada is tipped to be a starter in 2023, but for now he just has to endure the impact with J1.

  • Yuki Kakita
    Tokushima Vortis » Kashima Antlers
    Striker / Age: 24

The past: A J1 champion at just 19 years-old, Kakita had to struggle a lot to get his way back to J1. Always on loan from Kashima Antlers, the striker first faced a three years-stint with Zweigen Kanazawa, then brought Vortis back to J1 and represents now the guiding light for an eventual salvation.

Why coming back? Because Kakita seems to have outdone himself at Vortis: 17 goals in J2 in 2020, 7 this year and charging in the final rounds of the season. He appears ready to take some responsibility at Antlers, especially if one between Ayase Ueda or Everaldo will be on their way out.

What to expect: Antlers had a perfect situation in 2020, when Everaldo took his spot in the Best XI and Ueda grew silently behind him. Now the roles are reversed, but Everaldo is far away from his rookie year. Bringing Kakita back would help Antlers to have further depth.

  • Takumu Kawamura
    Ehime FC » Sanfrecce Hiroshima
    Offensive midfielder / Age: 22

The past: Just like Yoichi Naganuma – who stayed two years on loan in Ehime –, Kawamura is developing silently away from Hiroshima. Comparing to Naganuma, though, Kawamura’s performances impacted even more on the club’s destiny for 2021.

Why coming back? After three years with the orange jersey, it seems time to come back, especially if Ehime would end up dropping to J3. Six goals in 2020, Kawamura improved himself already with a lot of games to go (he played 26 times and scored 7).

What to expect: Nothing more than what Naganuma is going through at Sanfrecce. Kawamura will need time to convince Jofuku and earn himself a spot into the starting eleven, but if Asano will leave and Ezequiel won’t stay, chances could be opening soon.

Stay tuned for another episode tomorrow! “Market Week” had already one episode out (you can read it here), and we’ll have plenty of chances to talk about several players and their future in 2022.

4 thoughts on “Market Week 2021 – World of Loans

  1. Great article! Really agree re Nakashima, Fujii and Oda potential loan destinations though Fukuda was out of the team due to injury so I think he’ll stay at Gamba next year and if Katanosaka takes over he could well be a first choice wing back


    1. Hey there, Johnny! Yes, Fukuda might be involved again if the management will change and he’ll be healthy enough. I hope Katanosaka will be the choice.

      IMHO Nakashima has the potential to be a real protagonist in the J. League. Reminds me of a better-skilled version of Kengo Kawamata.

      Liked by 1 person

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