Top 10 Transfers from Japanese Transfer Window

Top 10 Transfers from Japanese Transfer Window

By Mario Kawata

With the transfer window in Japan now closed, we look back on the top ten moves of the winter transfer window.

Feel free to comment below and let us know your thoughts. Do you agree or disagree?

10. Mu Kanazaki [Nagoya Grampus → 1. FC Nürnberg] Free Transfer
Mu Kanazaki’s departure from Nagoya Grampus was one of the first big news items of the transfer window. Nagoya gave up trying to extend the contract of former under-23 Japan midfielder as he was eager to move to Europe with his contract with Nagoya expiring. Although it seemed that he wouldn’t have any difficulties finding a decent club to play for, he had to wait until the end of January to sign with German Bundesliga side 1. FC Nürnberg, where he joined his former teammate from Oita Trinita, Hiroshi Kiyotake.

9. Shinzo Koroki [Kashima Antlers → Urawa Reds] Free Transfer

Shinzo Koroki

Shinzo Koroki

Urawa Reds have been looking for a new striker as last season’s main center forward Genki Haraguchi only managed to score six goals, and Kashima Antlers striker Shinzo Koroki was the answer.

The fact that the club didn’t bring a new foreign striker shows their confidence in him. Koroki’s agility and finishing skills will surely add some quality to Urawa’s attacking.

On the other hand, Urawa might have a difficult start of the season if it takes time for him to fit into the team.


8. Yoshito Okubo [Vissel Kobe → Kawasaki Frontale] Free Transfer
7. Masahiko Inoha [Vissel Kobe → Jubilo Iwata] Transfer Fee Unknown

Former and current Japanese internationals Yoshito Okubo and Masahiko Inoha escaped from the sinking vessel…or should that be Vissel? Following the relegation of Vissel Kobe, Okubo joined Kawasaki Frontale, where he is expected to be a key player in attack with the likes of Kengo Nakamura and new Brazilian striker Patrick. According to reports, it seems Kawasaki didn’t have to pay a transfer fee, although his contract with Kobe hadn’t expired. Although several J1 clubs had been linked with Inoha he chose to play at Yamaha Stadium with his teammates at the national team, Ryoichi Maeda and Yuichi Komano.

6. Tadanari Lee [Southampton (England) → FC Tokyo] Loan
Last week saw possibly the last big news of this transfer window as English Premier League side Southampton FC announced that striker Tanadari Lee will join FC Tokyo on loan until the end of June.

Lee scored 15 goals for Sanfrecce Hiroshima in 2011, on top of the winning goal for Japan in the 2011 Asian Cup final. A year ago, Lee moved to England and scored one goal in the Championship, but never made an appearance in Premier League after being ruled out for months due to ligament injuries.

Arriving back in Japan for pre-season training, Lee expressed his eagerness to make a comeback at FC Tokyo, where he began his professional career.

5. Keisuke Nagai [Nagoya Grampus → Standard Liege (Belgium)] 800,000 Euro
4. Yuji Ono [Yokohama F. Marinos → Standard Liege (Belgium)] 2 million Euro

Kensuke Nagai at his new club

Although Kensuke Nagai and Yuji Ono were expected to move to Europe eventually, their moves to Standard Liege were big surprises in many ways.

At the end of the last season, there were reports that Nagai had agreed to stay at Nagoya for the new season, but when the first reports about Nagai’s move to Belgium came out, the deal was almost done. Nagai soon left Japan for his medical, and Yuji Ono joined him a few days later.

While Ono has been recognised as one of the most talented youngsters in Japan, most people believed he would spend a few more years at Yokohama F. Marinos, especially after he failed to impress last season. In addition, his transfer fee of 2 million Euro is the most money a Japanese club has received from a European club in the last few years.

Even Hiroshi Kiyotake and Hiroki Sakai, who are part of the Japanese senior squad, were sold for 1 million Euro. Nagai and Ono both made their debuts soon after they arrived at Liege, but haven’t made a big impact yet.

3. Cleo [Guangzhou Evergrande (China) → Kashiwa Reysol] Loan
Unwanted at the Chinese giants, Brazilian striker Cleo has joined Kashiwa Reysol on loan. Although he only managed to score seven goals in Chinese Super League last season, his goal scoring record in China and Serbia in previous years is more than enough to prove his quality. With Leandro Domingues and Jorge Wagner staying at the club, it is certain that Kashiwa has the greatest set of foreign attackers in J.League.

2. Bare [Al-Arabi (Qatar) → Shimizu S-Pulse] Transfer Fee Unknown
Following Leandro, Davi and Edmilson, another great Brazilian striker returned to J.League from the Middle East. When Jader Volnei Spindler a.k.a. Bare joined Omiya in 2001, he was only 19. Since then he played a total of seven seasons in Japan and scored 115 goals in J2 and J1.

For many Japanese football fans he is remembered for amazing six goals for Kofu in the J1/J2 playoff against Kashiwa in 2005. Later he joined Gamba Osaka and moved to UAE for a transfer fee of US$6 million in 2008. Considering the success of Leandro and Davi after their return to Japan, Shimizu can expect a lot from the 31-year-old striker.

1. Davi [Umm-Salal (Qatar) → Kashima Antlers] US$2-3 million


The destination of J2’s top scorer was one of the hot topics this winter. Davi scored 32 goals for Ventforet Kofu last year and made a great contribution to their prompt comeback to J1.

Many Japanese clubs were rumored to be interested in Davi after his loan from Umm-Salal expired, but the high transfer fee the Qatari side demanded was not easy for any Japanese club to pay. Since Kofu gave up keeping him early on, FC Tokyo and Kashima Antlers were the favorites to sign Davi.

In late December, FC Tokyo seemed to have won the race as Tokyo Chunichi Sports reported that Davi was headed to Tokyo, but their negotiations with Davi broke off before reaching a final agreement. As a result, Kashima Antlers succeeded to sign the hottest striker in the Japanese market.

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