Although Cerezo Osaka still have games ahead, the off season activity already started after the 2017 season of the J.League finished last week.
Cerezo released the following news yesterday and today:
- 21-year-old midfielder Masaki Sakamoto, who made an impressive debut for the first team as a category-2 player in 2014 when he scored 2 goals against Veertien Kuwana in the Emperor’s Cup, leaves the team after his contract with the club expires. He played 43 games (among them, 1 game for the first team) and scored 5 goals in 4 years.
- Young defender Honoya Shoji extends his loan spell with J2 side Zweigen Kanazawa for one more year. The under-20 international started 21 games for Kanazawa after he joined in June.
- Fagiano Okayama forward Eiichi Katayama joins Cerezo Osaka on a permanent basis. He joined Fagiano Okayama in 2014 after graduating from Waseda University, where it is thought that he played with Hirofumi Yamauchi for a year, and played 152 games so far.
According to a close J.League watcher, Eiichi Katayama is registered as forward but in fact he is a versatile player who can play in any position except for defensive midfielder and goalkeeper. He has been known for his incredible long throw-in ability which can be seen in the first of the above videos. His another strength is the ability of aerial battles. Although he is not very tall (180cm), the rate of successful air battles (58.9% in 2016) is higher than Kenyu Sugimoto (55.9%) and Ricardo Santos (44.8%).