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Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009

Oita, Kikuchi reach contractual agreement

OITA (Kyodo) Oita Trinita have agreed to terms with former Jubilo Iwata midfielder Naoya Kikuchi, the J.League club said Wednesday.

Kikuchi, sacked by Iwata after being arrested for having sex with a minor in June 2007, was playing for German club FC Carl Zeiss Jena in 2008-09.

A member of Japan's Athens Olympic squad in 2004, Kikuchi had a stint with Iwata in 2003-04 before splitting the 2005 season between Iwata and Albirex Niigata. He returned to Iwata in 2006.

The 24-year-old has scored six goals in 94 J. League matches and appeared in 20 games for the German club.

Sanfrecce sign Lee

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) Sanfrecce Hiroshima said Wednesday they have acquired striker Tadanari Lee from fellow J. League first-division club Kashiwa Reysol.

The contract for Lee, who played for Japan at the Beijing Olympics last year, runs through Jan. 31, 2011.

"I had a very hard time making this decision at a time when Kashiwa are struggling near the bottom of the standings," Lee said. "My decision is aimed at becoming a better player."

Lee scored 10 goals in 30 league matches for Kashiwa in 2007, the year he changed his nationality from South Korean to Japanese.

The 23-year-old, however, has experienced a disappointing season this year, scoring just twice in 20 matches, including five appearances from the bench.

Lee was not even on the bench in the last three matches after Brazilian coach Nelsinho took over in July.

He is scheduled to join Hiroshima for Thursday's training.

Leandro exits

OSAKA (Kyodo) Gamba Osaka said Wednesday they have reached a basic agreement with Al Sadd regarding Brazilian striker Leandro's move to the Qatari side.

Leandro was not supposed to leave Gamba during a season under his contract, but the J League club gave up on keeping the 24-year-old because of his strong wish and Al Sadd's huge fine payment.

Gamba have lost key Brazilian players to cash-rich clubs from the Middle East in recent seasons.

In 2007, Magno Alves left Gamba under a cloud to join Saudi Arabia's two-time Asian Champions League winners Al Ittihad. Brazilian striker Bare moved to the United Arab Emirates last season to play for Al Ahli.

Leandro has scored 11 goals in 21 matches in 2009, his first season with Gamba and fifth year in Japan.



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