Southeast Asia Thailand

Where does Chakkit Laptrakul fit in Masatada Ishii’s Sea Fang XI?

Chakkit Laptrakul swapped BG Pathum United’s blue for Samut Prakan City FC following a failed contract negotiation with the Glass Rabbit but where does the pacey winger fit in Masatada Ishii’s first-team plan?

Joined from 2nd tier side Angthong FC in 2018, the French-born attacker became an instant fan-favourite at LEO Stadium, appearing in 29 games across all domestic competition which include the Thai League Cup final lost against Chiangrai United. A loan move to J2 League outfit Tokushima Vortis followed before Chakkit return to Thailand in the second leg of the 2019 season, tearing defenders to pieces with pace and skills, as BG Pathum United lifted the Thai League 2 title – 13 points ahead of runners-up Police Tero FC.

Chakkit started in 3 out of 4 league games before the Covid-19 hiatus. However, the acquisition of Andres Tunez, centre-back, and Sarach Yooyen, midfield, hinted that BG Pathum United might have just forced themselves into adopting a back-3 formation, presumably a 3-4-2-1, which would allow the side to include their collections of star centre-backs and attacking-midfielders. The signing of Khon Kaen FC, wingback pairing, Sarawin Saengra and Thammayut Tonkham adding crux to the speculation – leaving no space for the likes Chakkit whose strength is taking on opposition in the final third.

“We talked with [BGPU] – we didn’t find the agreement. And what I can say about that, is I want to be in a club that trust me and let me [prove myself through my performance]. And that was not what they were thinking about me.” Chakkit explained his decision to move via Ari Football.

“I heard many things that it’s about money. That is not true. Because, for me, money is not the most important, for me, it is my career and playing football.”

The 25 years old was heavily linked with Police Tero FC before his official unveiling with Samut Prakan City. But why here? And what does the club see in Chakkit?

Speaking with the Sea Fang official media, head coach Masatada Ishii is full of praise for his new player “Jack (Chakkit) is blessed with excellent individual quality. He is quick on the ball, comfortable playing from either flank or even behind the striker. I hope he can be a massive help for the team.”

Ishii employed a conventional back-4 system with a pair of wingers in all of the previous 4 matches with Picha Autra, who recently rejoined Muangthong United, as the main-man down the left. Judging from Ishii’s quote, we can expect Chakkit to fill in for Picha as opposed to challenging Jaroensak Wonggorn’s right-wing spot. Ishii is also heavily linked with a move for Thailand U23 left-back Jaturapat Sattham. Currently, Ernesto Phumipha is Samut Prakan’s only Thai League proven left-back thus getting in Jaturapat would be another astute deal which adds squad depth, allow Ishii to play his preferred back-4 system, and use Chakkit further up the pitch.

Ernesto is currently Samut Prakan City FC’s only specialist left-back/wingback option. Credit:@samutprakancityfc

For Chakkit, Samut Prakan City FC does seem like his perfect team from a footballing perspective – supporting his reason for leaving BGPU. 3 defeats, a draw and only 3 goals scored may sound like a discouraging start but that would be slightly unfair for Ishii, considering they he had to faced reigning champions Chiangrai United and 2 title challenger in Port FC and Bangkok United so early on in his tenure. The 4-1 defeat at Port FC is perhaps the most misleading scoring result so far as Samut Prakan City FC did begin the game brilliantly, showing good intensity, controlled decent share of possession, and got forward a couple of times down the sidelines. Unfortunately, Ishii’s men couldn’t convert their chances whereas their opposition did.

Chakkit’s career is heading in an upward trajectory and credits to him for choosing game time instead of staying at a bigger club just for the sake of it. Joining the tactically more proactive Samut Prakan City FC, which probability suit his playing style better, rather than the pragmatic Police Tero FC is also another smart move. Looking from afar, Chakkit could potentially be the final third difference-maker Ishii is after. And if Chakkit can live up to what is expected of him, then 2020 could be a big year for Chakkit, maybe even putting him in contention for the Thai national team squad.