Montedio Yamagata midfielder Tatsuhiro Sakamoto has joined Cerezo Osaka on a permanent deal, the club announced on the official website today.
Sakamoto is a left-footed right midfielder who is going into his second professional season this year. The 23-year-old joined Montedio Yamagata in 2019 after graduating from Maebashi Ikuei High School and Toyo University and scored 7 goals from 42 appearances in the J2 League last season.
Right midfielder is a position Cerezo Osaka definitely need to strengthen after Kota Mizunuma made a switch to Yokohama F. Marinos. They already confirmed the loan signing of Kyoto Sanga midfielder Takuya Shimamura but he is considered to mainly play for the U-23 team.
After forward Yuta Toyokawa sealed a permanent move from KAS Eupen, Hiroaki Okuno could be a top candidate for a starting place. It was also announced that Taiga Maekawa returns from loan and will play at Cerezo Osaka in the upcoming season. There is also Jun Nishikawa although how well he can do in the top flight from the first year is yet to see. These three players, as well as Hiroshi Kiyotake depending on the situation, could be competitiors.
Comedian-turned-football-commentator Keiji Hirahata described Sakamoto on November last year as follows: “It is not an overstatement to say that he has performed the best among the rookies just graduated from univeristy in the J2 League this season. His unique dribbling, with his left foot frequently used, is fascinating and he doesn’t lose the ball easily. His height is 170cm so he is not tall but good at how to place his body, so he can win the 50-50 balls. His ability to cut in from the right flank and shoot also shines out.”
A Twitter user named “J.League Stats,” which is a good account to follow, sees this transfer as “a great signing.”
Tatsuhiro Sakamoto (23) is a great signing.— J.League Stats (@J1tokei) January 6, 2020
Should add some much needed guile to a #Cerezo side who, for all their almost monolithic organisational solidity, looked bereft of creativity for large parts of 2019.
7 goals + 4 assists in his maiden J2 campaign for #Montedio. pic.twitter.com/nxNjedtk5w