The Nikkan Sports newspaper is reporting that several clubs, including the Squirrels, have approached relegated Kashiwa Reysol regarding the transfer of duo Yukio Tsuchiya and Yasuhiro Hato. 31-year-old central defender Tsuchiya reportedly trained briefly at Omiya with a view to a move last year, but chose not to join the club due to the fact that he would be in competition for places with skipper Seiichiro Okuno and Toninho. He is nevertheless an experienced player with more than 200 J1 matches under his belt, accrued following his 1997 debut for Verdy Kawasaki. Two years later, the instantly recognisable bald Tsuchiya moved to Vissel Kobe, where he spent six seasons in the first team before opting to sign for Kashiwa for 2005.
Calm down, girls - it's Yukio Tsuchiya
Most notoriously, he will be remembered this season by most fans as the player involved in the foul that will most likely keep Urawa Reds' promising young international forward Tatsuya Tanaka out of the game for months - but that aside, he played a further thirty matches for the Sun Kings, controversially picking up no fewer than nine yellow cards and one red.
Ardija fans may also recall that Tsuchiya scored the early opening goal in what turned out to be perhaps Omiya's most important match of the season, when the Squirrels came from behind to win 2-1 at the end of October, bringing to an end their winless streak and so dumping Reysol back into the danger zone at the foot of the table.
Yasuhiro Hato, meanwhile, is a 29-year-old former Japanese international who has spent most of his career with Yokohama F Marinos - and with Flugels before the merger of the two clubs prior to the 1999 season. A right back who debuted in 1995 when still in his teens, Hato moved to Reysol during 2004 and immediately slotted into the first team, bringing the number of J1 matches he has played thus far to just under 200.
The very gorgeous Yasuhiro Hato
The transfer of Washington from Tokyo Verdy 1969 to Urawa nevertheless underlines the dangerous position that Kashiwa and also Vissel Kobe are in, as J1 clubs seek to move in and offer top flight football to the better players of those teams demoted to J2. It's therefore unsurprising that Omiya are not the only club thought to be expressing an interest in experienced players like Tsuchiya and Hato - but neither are Kashiwa's losses likely to stop there, with captain and midfielder Tomokazu Myojin, promising midfielder Mitsuru Nagata and of course international star forward Keiji Tamada all names to tempt rival teams.
No doubt it is Tamada - so far in his career a one-club man - that would most interest Omiya supporters as a potential purchase. A regular in Zico's national team squads and with a burst of pace that puts defenders on the back foot, he would potentially fit in well as a supporting striker, considering his respectable if less-than-breathtaking scoring record of thirty goals in 109 J1 matches for Kashiwa. But in order to take Omiya to the next stage of becoming a stable J1 outfit, it's players such as Tamada and Hato who need to be brought to the club.