The Rumario Mill

The Rumario Mill

By Mario Kawata (follow Mario on twitter @MarioUrawa)

With the J. League season ending on Saturday, the ‘silly season’ is now well and truly underway with players and coaches alike on the lookout for new clubs.

Our man across all of it is Mario Kawata, and he brings us the latest news from Japan from the last seven days.

Endo, Konno, Inoha, Okubo… future of relegated stars

Where to now for Endo?

The 2012 season of J1 is now officially over. With Gamba Osaka and Vissel Kobe getting relegated on the final day, the future of their star players such as Yasuhito Endo, Yasuyuki Konno, Yoshito Okubo and Masahiko Inoha naturally draws attention.

At the moment, Japan national team regulars Endo and Konno are expected to stay at Gamba, however, considering the club’s financial situation in J2 and their international career, it wouldn’t be surprising if one or both of them ends up at a J1 club.

Tomoaki Myojin and defender Akira Kaji are also likely to stay at the club despite their contracts expiring at the end to the season. Kobe stars Okubo and Inoha are more likely to leave the club and we can expect more news about them in the next few weeks.


Kanazaki leaves Nagoya

The headline of the week is the departure of Mu Kanazaki from Nagoya Grampus. The 23-year-old midfielder wants a move to Europe, and Nagoya broke off the contract negotiation in order to avoid uncertainty in the plan for the next season.

There is no offer from Europe reported so far, but Bundesliga club Augsburg made a loan offer last year and it is quite possible that some German clubs are interested, especially now that he is free. Although Kanazaki suffered from injuries in the last few years and wasn’t included in Japan’s Olympic squad this summer, he is still considered as one of the most talented attacking midfielders in Japan.

Some Japanese clubs are keeping an eye on him in case he fails to find an attractive destination in Europe, and Shimizu S-Pulse are believed to be in pole position in the domestic race for him. Nagoya are also not renewing the contract of former Japanese international midfielder Alessandro Santos.


Moriwaki likely to join Urawa

Urawa Reds continue to provide headlines at this early stage of the transfer season. The day after Sanfrecce Hiroshima claimed their first Japanese title, several newspapers reported that Hiroshima defender Ryota Moriwaki would join Urawa.

Urawa’s interest in him was reported weeks earlier and it seems the former Japanese international is getting closer to the Saitama move. With Moriwaki’s former teammates from Hiroshima, Yosuke Kashiwagi and Tokoaki Makino, who is joining Reds permanently after the current loan from 1.FC Köln, Mihailo Petrovic’s Reds seem to be increasingly becoming purple.

There were reports that Urawa are also interested in Vegalta Sendai winger Kunimitsu Sekiguchi, while Brazilian striker Popo is leaving the club after this season. There will be more transfer news from Reds this winter after they seized the first AFC Champions League ticket in five years on the final day of J1.


Race for Koroki and Higashi heats up

Shinzo Koroki is a wanted man

Another Urawa target, Kashima Antlers striker Shinzo Koroki is one of the most popular players in this transfer window. In addition to Urawa, FC Tokyo and his current club offering contract extension, Kashiwa Reysol recently joined the race.

Omiya Ardija’s Olympic star Keigo Higashi is drawing wide attention as well. FC Tokyo, Kashima Antlers, Kashiwa Reysol and some German sides including Hoffenheim are reportedly interested the 22-year-old.

J1 runners-up Vegalta Sendai are looking to reinforce their defence by replacing South Korean left back Park Joo-Sung with Albirex Niigata defender Naoki Ishikawa.


Jorginho part ways with Kashima

The news of Kashima manager Jorginho’s departure was met with surprise as previous media reports claimed that Kashima would extend contract with him as long as the club stays in J1.

Kashima did offer a new contract, but the Brazilian legend seems to have decided against staying in Japan due to family reasons. While Antlers are believed to offer new contracts to 33-year-old midfielders Mitsuo Ogasawara and Masashi Yamamoto, defender Toru Araiba looks set to leave the club, accepting an offer from Cerezo Osaka.

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