After yesterday’s player cull, FC Gifu are in the process of balancing things out. Here are the details of the players who arrived today.

Tatsuya Arai: Previous club – Nagoya Grampus

Arai spent the second half of last season on loan at Gifu, but only made 4 starts. He’s a young defender who joined Grampus from Chuo University. He’ll probably find it difficult to break into the team unless there is an injury to one of the established starters like Nogaito or Shuto Tanaka. But he spent time at Nagoya with good players and coaches, so I hope there is some potential here.

Masato Yamazaki: Previous club – Kashiwa Reysol

As with Arai, Yamazaki was on loan here last season but didn’t really get a chance to impress. On the very limited occasions he saw action, he looked an accomplished ball player with a decent engine. Whether head coach Koji Gyotoku goes with 2 men in the centre of midfield or 3, there is a probably a space up for grabs alongside Hattori. He will need a good showing in pre-season to get in front of others like Ri and Jinushizono (when he comes back form injury).

Takahiro Takagi: Previous club – Consadole Sapporo

This off season, Gifu released Kyouhei Noda, while Daisuke Tada went back to Gainare Tottori. This left only Tokihisa and Murao as the only goalkeepers signed…..until today. Takagi comes in having played very infrequently in the last few years. He spent the last two seasons up in Sapporo and before that he had spells at Albirex Niigata, Omiya Ardija & Thespa Kusatsu. He’s 30, which means he should be coming into his prime, but because of his lack of recent action it is difficult to think he will suddenly become 1st choice here.

Gakuji Ota: Previous club – Osaka Gakuin University

Gifu’s second ‘keeper signing of the day, Ota comes straight out of university. Don’t really know a lot about him. He stands at 190cm and played in the all-Japan university championship in 2010. He will surely be back-up to Tokihisa and new signing Takagi.

There was another important incomer today. Hideki Matsunaga, coach of Gifu from 2007-2009 has come back as general manager. There will be more on his appointment tomorrow.


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