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Friday, March 5, 2010
2010 J. LEAGUE PREVIEW
Team-by-team previews of the 18 teams competing in the first division.
Last season: 12th
Sanga could have expected better than last season's 12th-place finish, so it is little surprise that they were one of the busiest operators in the winter transfer market. Whether the squad is stronger as a result, however, looks dubious.
More players have come in than gone out, but the list of departures contains some heavy hitters.
South Korean center-back Lee Jung Soo has left for champions Kashima Antlers after one productive season, although he may not be so badly missed if countryman Kwak Tae Hwi can fill his boots.
More keenly felt will be the loss of veteran Sidiclei, who has been released, and midfield partner Yuto Sato, who has returned to JEF United Chiba.
Incoming Brazilians Dutra and Thiego are unknown quantities, and manager Hisashi Kato will have his work cut out building a coherent team after all the comings and goings.
Fortunately some good players remain, including steady defender Hiroki Mizumoto, Brazilian attacker Diego and striker Atsushi Yanagisawa. A heavy responsibility will rest on their shoulders, however, especially after the dismal late form that almost sucked the team down last season.