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Saturday, March 6, 2010
2010 J. LEAGUE PREVIEW
Team-by-team previews of the 18 teams competing in the first division.
Last season: ninth
Nagoya's ninth-place finish was about right for a team that has to be considered a work in progress, but such a lowly achievement will not be tolerated this time around. Make no mistake — after bringing in a succession of big names over the past six months, Grampus are gunning for the title.
Nothing symbolizes Nagoya's ambition more than the signing of defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka from Urawa Reds. The national team stalwart has been arguably the league's best player over the past four years, and will bring experience, knowhow and a keen eye for goal to a Grampus side that has been seeking such leadership for quite some time.
Highly rated young attacking midfielder Mu Kanazaki is the other eye-catching signing, but manager Dragan Stojkovic has made sure there is plenty of substance as well as style with low-key additions Mitsuru Chiyotanda and Danilson Cordoba.
Will it be enough to transform Grampus into genuine championship contenders?
Until an unfamiliar team takes its first steps together, it is impossible to say.
If it all clicks, it could be beautiful. But if it doesn't, things could get very ugly.