I don't know where to start on this............In an attempt to strengthen their lineup for the upcoming Asian Champions League, defending Emperor's Cup and 2006 League Champions Mitsubishi Urawa Red Diamond Football Club has been linked to signing Japan National Team member and JEF United Stalwart Yuki Abe and Brazilian striker Bare.
Bare rumor http://www.fcjapan.co.jp/mail_magazine/news/feature_view.php3?id=694&m=1
Abe rumor http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/soccer/jl...OHT1T00087.htm
I understand the desire for teams to do whatever they can to improve their teams. I applaud the drive to finally take seriously the regions Championship in order to further the league. I also understand the dynamics of a league with a few big fish and alot of minnows. I get it.
That being said, I hate the fact that the J league is starting to go the way of the superclubs. Last year, Urawa signed former Verdy up and comer Takahito Soma. Here's what I said about the deal
Wow, talk about gravedigging. New Emperor's cup champs and all around annoying team, THE URAWA REDS are now trying to pry away future star and team MVP Takahito Soma from the lads in green. As you already know, Urawa took Brazilian goal machine Washington away from Verdy and now they are hungry for young talent. (Rumor found on MASA-NET http://blog.goo.ne.jp/stammibene2003 link to original Japanese article can be found there)
Arguably it would be great for Soma, he's only 24 and playing with Hasebe, Tsuboi, and Santos would instantly get him some national recognition. It really stinks for TV69, however, the one relative strength that they have is their youth. Soma is a building block to the future and it would potentially cripple any hopes for promotion.There's also a possibility of goal scoring prodigy Takayuki Morimoto getting some interest from a big club in Europe.........more on that when I get more confirmation. As of now it's just a rumor.As of now, I don't think they have enough to compete with Ehime much less Vegalta Sendai or the powers in the ACL . the buzzards are circling and they aren't wearing green :( .
Boy, did I miss the target on this one. Soma was turned into the Japanese version of Shawn Wright-Phillips. Another signing, Teruaki Kurobe was relegated to the bench for all but 9 games this season. This coming after he put in good campaigns for Cerezo Osaka and Kyoto Purple Sanga. Sure, it strengthens the short-term depth of the squad, but it cripples the depth of the league.
Mitsubishi built the Urawa Reds with a philosophy based on the best elements of Manchester United. A strong youth program, combined with grass-roots support and a family feeling have made the squad THE franchise in Japan and succeeded in every aspect that Tokyo Verdy failed in. While I can't stand the product on the field and loathe the supporters of Urawa (Except for Masa of Masa.Net and a few others) I have a respect for what they have accomplished. I respect the fact that the fans stayed united behind the squad when they dropped to J2 (Unlike the 9000+ that fled the Verdy bandwagon when they took the drop).
What I HATE however is the piracy. Venforet Kofu was a great story this season, defying the odds to not only advance to J1 but survive and shock a few people along the way. Now their main guy is possibly going to be the third to fifth best Brazilian on the squad. Yuki Abe is JEF Chiba, he is the face of the franchise......now he might become the backup to his fellow national teamers. And where is the impetus to develop homegrown talent. Why should Urawa even bother to develop another Tsuboi or Hasebe when they can steal a player away from Shimizu S Pulse by outbidding them.
Jeremy Walker of FC Japan wrote in his article how great it will be if Urawa gets Bare. He states that all of Japan needs to be behind Urawa in the upcoming campaign (Link is above). I think Mr. Walker should take the proverbial flying leap. If Kawasaki is in the competition, I will pull for them. I will go for any team that puts together a squad through hard work and development and scouting. I cannot and will not root for a squad that bludgeons the rest of the league by pilfering in order to seek more self glory.
With all due respect, I'll pass.