Cerezo Osaka finally confirmed promotion to J1! It’s not something like winning the title, but watching the players holding the shield high was much pleasing.
WINNERS!!!!! pic.twitter.com/VE8eup18JO— CRZ Tweets (@crz_tweets) December 4, 2016
But the end of a season means the beginning of preseason. Soon after the Promotion Play-Offs Final, many transfer rumors came out. In this first part of preseason news roundup, I want to sort the current situation out.
It had been said for a long time that Kiyoshi Okuma would step down as a manager regardless of the season results and be replaced by Ulsan Hyundai boss Yoon Jong-Hwan. That change of manager was finally confirmed yesterday. On the club’s official website, the former Cerezo playmaker said “I’ve never forgot about Cerezo Osaka and am very pleased to come back as a manager.” Yoon has become the first former Cerezo man who comes back to the club as a manager.
Yoon’s appointment doesn’t mean Kiyoshi Okuma’s leaving. Okuma will stay at the club next season, but his role may be changed. According to today’s reports by Sports Nippon and Sports Hochi, club president Minoru Tamada suggested Okuma may take more GM-ish role and Hiroaki Morishima or Hiroshi Soejima may replace him as a person in charge of the team strengthening. Morishima (who currently belongs to the club’s team strengthening division) is a former teammate of Yoon, and Soejima (who currently has been loaned to Osaka Gakugei High School as a manager of women’s football team) was a manager when Yoon played for Cerezo in 2000 and 2001.
Reportedly, Yoon will bring some staff to Cerezo, although there has been no rumor which points out who they are. But we can predict he may want to work with coaches he used to work together at Sagan Tosu, such as Megumu Yoshida who recently left FC Gifu manager.
The club move really quick this year as they have already announced that they wouldn’t renew contracts with three experienced players - Keiji Tamada, Takashi Kitano, and Sota Nakazawa. There are some more players, like Teruyuki Moniwa and Hideo Hashimoto (currently loaned to AC Nagano Parceiro), whose future may be uncertain.
Kim Jin-Hyeon may also leave the club as he has received an offer from FC Seoul according to reports in Japan (Sports Nippon, Sankei Sports). But FC Seoul, the club currently managed by former Cerezo Osaka striker Hwan Sun-Hong, denied that rumor saying it’s “groundless,” South Korean newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun reported.
Meanwhile, there have been a rumor that Incheon United defender Matej Jonjic would join Cerezo Osaka in Japan, and today the South Korean side announced his transfer. But it is not confirmed by Cerezo yet.
Cerezo Osaka are also reportedly chasing Omiya Ardija midfielder Akihiro Ienaga and Nagoya Grampus midfielder Asahi Yada. The former one doesn’t look so realistic as some other clubs such as Kawasaki Frontale and Gamba Osaka are also trying to sign him. As to the latter one, Sports Nippon reported Cerezo have already made a formal offer for him, so we can understand they are currently waiting for his answer.