A-League transfer wishlist: 5 Japanese targets

​With an MOU between the FAs in Japan and Australia signed, and the surging standard of the Hyundai A-League, Asian football expert @JohnnyDuerden suggests five big names from land of the Rising Sun who’d suit a move to Australia.

On May 1, 2016, the Hyundai A-League and the J.League signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at helping the football scenes in both countries by sharing expertise and knowledge.

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There are all kinds of plans and provisions in the document, including elite youth friendlies, the sharing of technical, marketing and administrative expertise and even a referee exchange program.

You can’t beat sharing the action on the pitch however and Japan and Australia have played out plenty of thrilling games over the years. 

And there is more to come next month. On October 11 the Samurai Blue comes to Melbourne for the fourth game of the final round of qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Ahead of what promises to be a mouthwatering clash and ahead of the start of the next edition of the Hyundai A-League, there are some Japanese talents that are worth looking at when it comes to marquees especially as Japan and Australia have looked at the idea of establishing a joint marquee fund.

Keisuke Honda (AC Milan)

Starting with one of the biggest stars in Japan and Asian football would be a statement of intent. The Osaka-born playmaker joined the Italian giant at the start of 2014. 

Keisuke Honda

Growing up as a Milan fan doesn’t mean that a San Siro stint is going to be special. Milan is going through a difficult time. 

So far this season, the 30 year-old has played just 19 minutes.

Rumours of a move to MLS have been floating around of late. Honda is good enough to play in the very top leagues -wherever they may be. 

Enough of his own man to go where his desire takes him, the blond bombshell could well be open to a move to some of the leagues making waves around the world such as those in the United States, China and Australia.

Honda ticks all boxes in terms of on the pitch talent and off the pitch appeal. Lucky would be the club that could attract Emperor Keisuke. 

When he arrives in Melbourne next month, a few clubs could do worse than have a quick chat.

Makoto Hasebe

What could be a better expression of a deeper relationship between the Caltex Socceroos and the Samurai Blue than the Japanese captain playing in the Hyundai A-League? 

Makoto Hasebe

Hasebe will be 33 in January and while he is still playing for Eintracht Frankfurt and pace has never been part of his game, the composed central midfielder would be a great ambassador on and off the pitch. 

He does the right things, says the right things and plays the right way.

Ryo Miyaichi

Still just 23, the winger is on his seventh club in Europe – a sign of a talent that attracts and the instability that has prevented his career from, so far, achieving its undoubted potential.

Arsenal was the first and biggest.  Coming straight from high-school in Japan, he went to Feyenoord for visa reasons and did very well indeed. Back in England he struggled to find his way in loans with Wigan and Bolton. 

Ryo Miyaichi

A short stint back in the Netherlands, he is now in Germany’s second tier with FC St.Pauli.

Would surely be a hit in Australia if the right club can make the right approach and offer the right environment.

Shunsuke Nakamura (Yokohama F. Marinos)

The former Celtic, Reggina and Espanyol midfielder is approaching the end of a fine career. 

The free-kicks are still in the famous locker and his experience is only matched by his ability. Tempting Nakamura down under could be a feather in the cap of a team looking for some experience. 

Shunsuke Nakamura

With Cahill and “Naka”, the Hyundai A-League would boast two of the best Asian attacking talents in the 21st century.

Shinya Yajima (Fagiano Okayama)

The midfielder is on loan at Fagiano Okayama in Japan’s second tier from Urawa Reds. It was hoped by the Reds that regular game time would give the 22 year-old the vision and composure to go with his undoubted skills.

That seems to be happening and in June he was named as the J2’s MVP for the entire month with his improved passing named as a major reason. 

Shinya Yajima

Developing into a fine player, it remains to be seen if Urawa want him back next season in November when the season ends. If not, there will be opportunities for others.