With the Thai League transfer window now slammed shut, it is time to pass judgment on how well each side did in terms of recruitment heading into 2020. Football Tribe’s Gian Chansrichawla and Obb Deewajin discuss and evaluate each side’s dealings in the market, and what it could suggest for the upcoming season.
Bangkok United: B
Consistency is key in football, and Bangkok United made a smart investment by simply keeping the core of last season’s squad together. They also managed to strengthen in defensive midfield by bringing in Hajime Hosogai, who will be crucial in bringing defensive stability as well as helping them advance play from the back. However, the big mark against them was allowing Nelson Bonilla to depart near the end of the transfer window, and bringing in a replacement with only two weeks to prepare before the start of the season (Gian).
Buriram United: C
At Buriram United, finishing the season without a trophy to your name is a crime. We all expected the Thunder Castle to respond in a BIG way to their trophyless 2019 campaign, but it doesn’t seem to have been the case. Bernardo Cuesta and Ricardo Bueno seem like talented players up front, but it remains to be seen if they can finally replace the legacy of Diogo Luis Santo. Additionally, while Jung Jae-Yong adds an imposing physical presence to the midfield, the side are still sorely lacking a creative player in the middle of the park.
Another reason to mark the Thunder Castle down is their refusal to spend money on local players. The side thought they had secured Jaturapat Sattham from Chainat before capitulating to a higher bid from Port FC. This is a small example, but it illuminates the larger transfer principle at Buriram, where the side refuse to spend money on securing top local players, or even foreigners from other Thai League clubs.
For more analysis on how Buriram’s signings could fit into their system for next season, read my analysis here. (Gian)
BG Pathum United: C-
BG Pathum United marked their return to top-flight football by securing the services of box-to-box midfielder Thitiphan Puangchan, who spent 2019 with J1 League side Oita Trinita. The arrival of Álvaro Silva and Victor Cardozo, alongside Irfan Fandi who was already there, puts BGPU into the shout of having the best set on center-backs in the league. For years, the Rabbits have been crying out for a reliable right-back and judging by his pre-season form, Santipap Channgom, a low-key signing from Police Tero FC, could be the solution.
While BGPU defensive line may be strong, their midfield and attacking options are much more chaotic. Where does new recruit, Sumanya Purisai or Peerapong Pichitchotirat, fit in BGPU’s midfield where Thitiphan is a guaranteed starter? Same for Siroch Chatthong and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, both good players on their own, but where do they play? Head coach Dusit Chalermsan generally plays with wingbacks, not wingers, and neither Siroch or Norshahrul are better finishers than Barros Tardeli. The Brazilian forward finished the season with 39 goals to his name in two seasons, albeit in the second division. Lineup and poor friendlies performances showed Dusit is scrambling to find his preferred XI. BGPU can sign all the good players they want, but it won’t lead to a functioning football team. (Obb)
Chiangrai United: C
Reigning champions Chiangrai United appointed Masami Taki as their new head coach for 2020 and the transition from Ailton to the Japanese coach head has been pretty smooth so far. The Beetles did well to keep the core of the team together despite heavy interest for stars such as Ekanit Panya or Sivakorn Tiatrakul. Thin squad depth, especially in defense, was a massive concern last season – Chutiphan Nobnorb, formerly of Army United, will provide adequate backup at center-back. The versatile Chotipat Poomkeaw returned a much stronger player after a full season of top-flight football with Chiangmai FC – he was great throughout pre-season and will be perfect to slowly replace Piyaphon Phanichakul, 32, at right-wingback.
William Henrique was their X factor in the final third in 2019 but his successor, Mailson, is finding it tough to get going and looks extremely low of confidence. Bill Rosimar is having to shoulder big attacking responsibility at the moment, and Mailson may come good at the end, but all of this uncertainty could’ve been avoided with Chiangrai were more meticulous with their recruitment. (Obb)