Vietnamese news outlet Nhan Dan and Japan’s very own Sports Hochi have announced on Thursday that J.League 1 outfit Cerezo Osaka has successfully landed Vietnam’s number one goalkeeper Dang Van Lam from Thai League 1 giants SCG Muangthong United. Joining the men in pink from the Kirins, Van Lam is set to become the fourth Vietnamese to play in the J.League and the first one to play in the J1.
Details regarding Van Lam’s contract was not revealed, however Sports Hochi have hinted that Cerezo have splashed the bank to bring in Van Lam to the Nagai Stadium.
Van Lam is set to depart a Muangthong side who are heavily rumored to be bringing back Thailand international goalie Kawin Thamsatchanan, with Kawin refusing an offer from Muangthong’s league rivals Port FC for a return to the SCG Stadium after spending the recently concluded 2020 J1 campaign sitting on the Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo bench. In order to accommodate Van Lam’s arrival, Cerezo were rumored to have released three goalkeepers from their squad, according to The Thao 24/7.
However, with COVID-19 making flights from Thailand to Japan a little bit complicated to get, two European clubs have thrown their hats into the ring in hopes of stealing the 27-year old former Hai Phong FC goalkeeper from underneath Cerezo’s noses. The two clubs were Russia’s Dynamo Moscow and Portugal’s SC Braga, the former being the club that Van Lam had spent his youth career at. Van Lam had reportedly only made a verbal agreement with Cerezo, meaning that the two European clubs still has a chance of bagging the Russian-Vietnamese goalkeeper into their ranks.
With nothing official being announced by either the Cerezo or the Muangthong camps, the future of Van Lam seems to be uncertain. However, his representative told The Thao 24/7 that his client will decide his next destination in either January 13th or January 14th. Cerezo, Dynamo, and Braga would have to wait for any updates from both Muangthong and Van Lam until those dates.
Should Van Lam makes his move to Cerezo official, he will become the fourth Vietnamese after Le Cong Vinh (2013), Nguyen Tuan Anh (2016), and Nguyen Cong Phuong (2016) to play for a J.League club. Cong Vinh had previously played for Consadole, then still playing in the second-tier J.League 2, while Tuan Anh and Cong Phuong spent their 2016 at Yokohama FC and Mito HollyHock respectively, with the two clubs spending that year in the J2 as well. This meant that Van Lam could become the first Vietnamese to play for a club in the J1.
Arriving at Muangthong from Hai Phong in 2018, Van Lam had became first choice goalkeeper for both club and country, earning 23 caps for Vietnam as he guided the Golden Dragons to the 2018 AFF Cup title as well as an appearance in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.