The Sponichi news site is reporting that rumoured Squirrels transfer target Masaki Fukai is to move to Nagoya Grampus 8 on a loan deal for 2008. This would seem to raise question marks, too, over the outcome of Omiya's formal offer to JEF United for international striker Seiichiro Maki, given that Maki played alongside Fukai in the highly-regarded Komazawa University team of 2000 - and also that Seiichiro's younger brother Yuki Maki is also on the books at Grampus.
After two years on loan to Tokyo Verdy 1969, Shin Kanazawa has made a surprise return to Omiya Ardija. The 24-year-old, one of the first graduates of the Squirrels' youth set-up to go on and appear for the first team, made his Omiya debut in 2002. He blossomed in the promotion campaign of 2004 but in J1 became more of a fringe player and took the opportunity at the end of 2005 to move to Verdy, where he made exactly fifty J2 appearances, scoring three goals. Kanazawa's reappearance in Saitama means increased competition for the likes of Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, Masato Saito and Yosuke Kataoka in the defensive midfield positions.
As previously rumoured, the Sponichi news site is reporting that, while other clubs are also interested, J1 newcomers Tokyo Verdy have put in a formal bid for Squirrels defender Yasuhiro Hato. The 31-year-old former Japanese international joined Omiya two years ago from Kashiwa Reysol but has enjoyed mixed success in Saitama.
Meanwhile more press attention is being given to Ardija's offer to buy national team striker Seiichiro Maki from JEF United, originally covered by the Yomiuri Shimbun on 26 December. The same paper provides more background to the reported 300m yen deal to boost Ardija's attacking fortunes with what would be a gigantic cash injection from sponsors NTT. Nikkan Sports ties the story in with JEF's own hunt for a new coach following the sacking of Amar Osim.
What's the deal with Japanese footballers and those ghastly small dogs?
Sponichi also connects Omiya with 27-year-old attacking midfield man Masaki Fukai, who spent last season on loan at Albirex Niigata from Kashima Antlers. The diminutive-but-speedy Fukai was used by the Swans mainly as a reserve for their regular front pairing of Edmilson and Kisho Yano and has career stats of fifteen goals in 115 matches since his debut for Kashima in 2003.
Omiya Ardija keeper Takahiro Takagi will in 2008 spend a third season away from Saitama on loan, as it was announced that the 25-year-old will extend for a further twelve months his current deal at J1 newcomers Consadole Sapporo. Takagi played at Thespa Kusatsu in 2006 an indeed has never turned out for the Squirrels first team. Meanwhile, Kusatsu will be the destination for defender Akira Ishigame, 22, who leaves Omiya for a year's loan period of his own.
The Yomiuri Shimbun is reporting that Omiya Ardija have made what would be a truly astonishing offer of 300m yen for JEF United's Japanese international striker Seiichiro Maki. The newspaper indicates that Omiya's bid covers a multi-year contract for the 27-year-old, who notched up only five goals during what was a difficult 2007 for the Chiba club.
Another Signing As Squirrels Continue Youth Development
The Squirrels have snapped up highly-rated teenage midfielder Takuya Aoki for the 2008 season. Aoki, who is 18 and hails from Gunma prefecture, had reportedly been chased by a number of other clubs, including Cerezo Osaka and Consadole Sapporo. He signs for Ardija straight from high school. Aoki is a regular fixture in Japan's U19 team and as such is expected to travel to the U19 international friendly tournament in Qatar next month.