Friend of GGOA Steve has been taking a look at the current Squirrels squad and trying to forecast what will happen to each of the players at the end of the season: will they stay or will they go? Who will be playing for Omiya next year? A short series of Squirrel's Eye View posts begins here with a run through the Ardija goalkeepers.
Hiroki Aratani - When one first looks at Aratani, you have to figure he'll definitely leave if the team drops to J2. He's approaching his golden years as a keeper (32-35) and he's conceded an average of less than a goal a game this year - which is better than more heralded players such as Seigo Narazaki or Eiji Kawashima. What makes his departure a greater possibility is the looming promotion of Consadole Sapporo and old boss Toshiya Miura, who has a stable of young keepers who could use a veteran presence.
But what might make it difficult for the domed one to leave is a history of nine years as a keeper for Omiya. He's a lifelong member of the Squirrel Nation and his family is settled in the area. There also is a huge issue with an arm that doesn't seem to want to heal, which might drive his market price down. I'd rate his chances of leaving at 50-50.... it's an age-old question of career vs heart.
Takahiro Takagi enjoys a good laugh
Koji Ezumi - Recent performances show that the big man is sorely lacking in the abilities required to be a J1 keeper. The jury is out, however, on whether or not he could be the guy to handle a J2 season. The positives to this kid are that he has size and is still relatively young-ish at 29. The downsides are too numerous to mention, but I will anyway: he has no mobility or response and his kicking is tragic. Should he leave? Absolutely. Will he leave? I'd say it's 70-30 that you'll see him in pale pink or baby blue next year.
Nobuhisa Kobayashi - The perfect J2 third choice keeper. He's not much of a challenge and can step in and make practice games interesting. The team tried to get rid of him once and probably will again. When you beg a club to let you come back and don't do much with the chance, that's a good sign that you aren't long for this career. 80% chance that he'll be out the door.
Kunihiro Shibasaki - Who knows what the young signing brings to the table? I imagine, though, that he will get another year to see if he's a player or not. Will he see playing time next year? I doubt it. Will he be a good guy to have in reserve? Likely. 90% staying.
Is it just me, or is Tatsuya Enomoto’s hair really annoying?
And two more for good measure...
Takahiro Takagi - I highly doubt Miura will let the kid go from his loan spell at Sapporo without a fight, which is unfortunate because he looks like the perfect guy to lead Omiya back to J1 if the dreaded drop happens. There are two reasons why Consadole might not take him back for another year:
1. There are a plethora of fine pedigree young keepers at Sapporo, including Yuya Sato who is a tender 21 years of age
2. You could see Miura deciding on a more mature player to man the nets in J1. Miura is known for being risk-averse when it comes to J1 selection and this could be the case next year too
One possibility for Omiya might be a kind of swap involving Takagi and last year's #1 for Consadole, Takuto Hayashi. It also remains to be seen if Omiya still retain the rights to Takagi. I'd say it's 95% that he won't be back.
Kota Ogi - On the face of it, it looks like the 24-year-old Vissel Kobe man is here just for a short time. However, with Tatsuya Enomoto entrenched between the posts following his close-season move from Yokohama F Marinos, it seems like Kobe might be looking ahead to next year and developing the young lad with a few months of live fire at Omiya. It seems like departures from Vissel have been tailored to squads with little hope of being in J1: Atsuhiro Miura going to Yokohama FC is an obvious example, so don't be surprised if this move was made with next year in mind. 50-50 he stays.