Transfer News East Asia

Muto, Miyaichi Returns to Japan as Onaiwu, Endo, Tanaka and Kawabe Join Furuhashi in Europe

The 2021 J.League 1 summer transfer window has been a quiet affair so far. There has been no blockbuster acquisition that would raise one’s eyebrows, however there were some notable exits and a few players coming in who could play a vital role for their new clubs in the ongoing season.

The most notable exit from the J1 this summer was Kyogo Furuhashi’s transfer to Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic, however the attacker’s move to Scotland wasn’t the only instance of J1 exporting their talent to Europe this summer.

Ado Onaiwu has left Yokohama F. Marinos after scoring 12 times in the league this season, swapping the blue of Yokohama for the purple of Toulouse in France’s Ligue 2. Former Urawa Red Diamonds, Renofa Yamaguchi, and Oita Trinita man Onaiwu wasn’t alone in leaving Yokohama for Europe this summer, as Keita Endo’s loan deal at Union Berlin has been turned permanent, with the left winger impressing everyone at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei in the 16 times he turned out for Union Berlin in the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign.

League leaders Kawasaki Frontale’s biggest challenge this summer has been retaining talisman Kaoru Mitoma from prying European eyes and although they did a decent job so far in keeping their rising star, the men in sky blue had to lose one of their key men to the European leagues. Ao Tanaka, who was left out of Kawasaki’s AFC Champions League squad, has secured a loan move away from the Todoroki Athletics Stadium and into European football, joining Fortuna Dusseldorf in the German second tier.

Last but not least, Hayao Kawabe has left Sanfrecce Hiroshima to join newly promoted Grasshoppers Zurich in the Swiss Super League.

Other noticeable exits from the J1 include Anderson Lopes leaving Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo for Chinese Super League side Wuhan FC, while Dankler ended his short association with Cerezo Osaka in favor of a lucrative deal with Al-Ahli in the Saudi Arabian top flight. Urawa also released their two Brazilian players that they had loaned out to Portimonense in the Portuguese top flight last year, with Fabricio turning his loan deal into a permanent one while Mauricio Antonio joined Dankler in the Saudi league, joining Al-Batin.

Last but not least, Quenten Martinus has been released from his contract at Vegalta Sendai despite joining them earlier this season.

Having lost key attacker Furuhashi, Vissel Kobe acted quickly in securing a replacement, bringing in former Mainz 05 and Newcastle United striker Yoshinori Muto, with the 29-year old returning to Japan for the first time since 2015 when he left FC Tokyo for Germany.

Muto had been decent with Mainz however his career tailed off once he joined Newcastle, scoring only once in 25 games, before a loan move to Spain’s Eibar in 2020/21 also ended in complete and utter failure. The striker will be filling in a huge pair of boots left behind by Furuhashi, but with Spain legend Andres Iniesta supporting him, Muto will be hoping that he could revitalize his career at the Misaki Park Stadium.

Yokohama also managed to secure themselves Onaiwu’s replacement, with Ryo Miyaichi joining the men in blue after spending 10 years away in Europe, with Yokohama being his first Japanese club. Miyaichi had started his senior career at Arsenal, however injuries restricted him to a handful of appearances for either the Gunners or the clubs that Arsenal had sent him out on loan for, which include Feyenoord, Bolton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic, and FC Twente.

Injuries also plagued Miyaichi throughout his tenure with FC St Pauli in the German second tier, restricting him to 77 appearances across four years. It is hoped that underneath Yokohama’s new head coach Kevin Muscat, Miyaichi will be able to revitalize his career that has been stagnating for several years, allowing him to live up to the potential that he had shown throughout his youth.

Other notable incoming transfers include Ataru Esaka leaving Kashiwa Reysol for Urawa, Oita scooping up Hiroto Goya and Asahi Masuyama from Kashiwa and Vissel respectively, Koki Anzai returning to Kashima Antlers from his loan spell at Portimonense, and Hiroki Sakai joining Urawa from Marseille of Ligue 1.