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Saturday, March 8, 2008
J. LEAGUE 2008
TEAM BY TEAM ANALYSIS
Last season: 10th
Vissel pulled off the coup of the season last year when snaring national team striker Yoshito Okubo from Cerezo Osaka, and Kobe again looks to have stolen a march in the transfer market.
South Korean defensive midfielder Kim Nam Il, known as "The Vacuum Cleaner" in his native country, has played in two World Cups, and at the age of 30 will bring enormous experience and knowhow to his new colleagues.
With so many clubs turning to anonymous Brazilians to fill their foreigner quotas, it is surprising that no one else has realized the wealth of talent just across the Sea of Japan, and Kobe should be more solid with Kim in the engine room.
Striker Leandro scored 15 goals last season, and should again form a dangerous partnership up front with Okubo.
Talent is spread pretty thinly throughout the rest of the side, however, and further consolidation in J1 with a good cup run looks a realistic bet following last season's decent mid-table finish.