Newly-promoted J.League 1 side Yokohama FC have snapped up Vietnam international Nguyen Cong Phuong from Hoang Anh Gia Lai on a two-year deal, marking the 27-year old’s return to Japanese football for the first time since the 2016 season.
With growing interest towards Southeast Asian players from J.League clubs brought on by the success of Thai superstar Chanathip Songkrasin, Yokohama FC wanted their own share of the pie and had their eyes set on Cong Phuong, who scored five goals and assisted four in all competitions during the 2022 season.
Both Yokohama FC and HAGL negotiated for around six months, before a decision was reached to allow Cong Phuong to leave the Mountain Men, being tied up by Yokohama FC on a two-year contract.
The men in sky blue will become Cong Phuong’s fourth overseas club and the first one that he joined on a permanent basis, having been loaned out to Mito HollyHock down in the J.League 2 in 2016, K-League 1 side Incheon United in 2019 and Belgian top-flight side Sint-Truiden in the same year.
And while Cong Phuong was rarely used at Mito, Incheon, and Sint-Truiden, the striker voiced his optimism towards his move to Yokohama FC, stating that he couldn’t wait to try his best in contributing for his new club.
A graduate of the famed HAGL-Arsenal JMG Academy alongside the likes of Luong Xuan Truong and Nguyen Tuan Anh, Cong Phuong made over 100 league appearances and scored 36 goals for HAGL throughout his career. He’s also a key player in the Vietnam national team in all age groups, finishing as runners-up in the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship as well as winning the 2018 AFF Championship.