Southeast Asian Players The A-League Clubs Should Keep Their Eye On
It’s summer in much of the world meaning that the transfer market is well and truly hot. It is also time for A-League clubs to think about their recruitment and to look at some Asian additions. The World Game online portal has seven such suggestions, as listed below:
Shinji Okazaki (Japan)
The Japanese international has already been linked with a move to the A-League but there is plenty of competition to secure his services. It is easy to see why and not just because he is a free agent. The 33 year-old helped Leicester City to a fairy tale Premier League win, can still score goals at any level and is still a big deal in Japan and Asia.
His work ethic and energy makes a difference and his presence would be a big name to follow in the footsteps of Keisuke Honda. At this stage of his career, Australia may well appeal.
Udanta Singh (India)
The right-winger is just 23 but has already been around for a few years. He is a mainstay of one of South Asia’s leading clubs Bengaluru and an exciting talent that still has potential to improve. There have been a few ripples of interest coming through to the Indian international of late but nothing too exciting. Australia would be a step up for the player. There is great value in the Indian market and even more if the countries can develop a closer football relationship.
Safawi Rasid (Malaysia)
It may already be too late for Australia in the case of this tricky winger who has established himself as the biggest talent in Malaysia at the tender age of 22. Since bursting onto the scene, he has been tracked by clubs in Japan and South Korea but a move has not been made, partly because Malaysians have not travelled outside Southeast Asia with much success in the past . Perhaps Safawi will be the one to break the mould but if Australian clubs are going to make a move then time is of the essence. The Johor forward is starting to appear on European radars.
Vu Van Thanh (Vietnam)
It is still surprising that despite the massive strides taken by Vietnam in recent years that the big leagues of Asia have yet to really cotton on in terms of importing talent. Japan and Korea have shown perfunctory interest but the fact remains that there are a lot of great players in the ‘S-shaped’ country in Southeast Asia.
Van Tranh is a fast and aggressive full-back who can play either side if need be but is more interested in going up and down the wing for the full 90. Would be cheap and make fans (back in Southeast Asia as well as Australia) and coaches very cheerful.
Egy Maulana Vikri (Indonesia)
The forward took the 2017 AFF U-19 Championships by storm with eight goals and was the talk of Southeast Asia and there was even reported interest at the time from Australia. Instead, Egy - who is still just 18 - went to Poland to join Lechia Gdansk. Playing time has been hard to come by in Eastern Europe and a switch to Australia may just be the perfect thing for one of Indonesia’s biggest stars.
Koo Ja-cheol (South Korea)
Just 30 but the man once nicknamed ‘Koopard’ (due to his similarity to a certain former Chelsea and England midfielder) played for his country over 70 times before retiring from the national team. That was due to all the travelling from Germany where he has been based since 2011, back to East Asia. Now a free agent, the midfielder is going to be picked up sooner or later but Australia is as good a place as any. Aggressive, experienced and with an eye for goal, Koo is a leader who would be perfect for the A-League and an asset for any team.
Chan Vathanaka (Cambodia)
Melbourne Victory could surely have made more use of Keisuke Honda’s Cambodia connections. There are plenty of talented players in the country with Vathanaka regarded as the best and a star of Southeast Asian football. Early sojourns in Japan and Malaysia did not work out but there were mitigating circumstances. There is still plenty of potential there as CV11 is a major star and full of attacking mischief. He would be a risk but not an expensive one. It would also be a gamble watched very closely back home.
Source : The World Game