After spending 9 years with the club, Gamba have decided against renewing the contract of goalkeeper Yosuke Fujigaya, 32, from the end of this season. Having been part of every winning side in the club’s history, he leaves just Yasuhito Endo and Takahiro Futagawa as the ever-present players picking up every trophy.
Fujigaya will be remembered fondly for his incredible clangers, even to the point where this dubious writer suspects he was offered a new deal but dropped his pen before the timer ran out on him. His arrival back in 2005 from Consadole Sapporo did coincide with our trophy haul arriving, being an integral part to every title we earned including the memorable 5-0 aggregate win in the 2008 ACL Final over Adelaide United.
Even though he played every minute of the 44 games we played this season, his improvement in the first half of the season was swiftly abated to previous low-levels where he produced errors. Even in his last game against ThespaKusatsu Gunma, he parried a simple shot back to the striker to score an easy goal that should not have happened. Typical easy stuff that was typically difficult for him to handle.
While Atsushi Kimura will be hoping to become the number 1 for next season, that will not happen unless we fail to get reported target Masaaki Higashiguchi from Albirex Niigata. The former Gamba Youth man must be close to signing otherwise you would think that this end for Fujigaya would not have happened yet. Higashiguchi is regarded as one the better keepers in the country and would definitely be an improvement on the departing Shizuoka man.
Thank you to Fujigaya for your hard work but I am not disappointed to see you leave. You were sometimes a great goalkeeper but your sheer inconsistency and unpredictability was your undoing in the end. Good luck to whoever gets you next, they might just need it.
Photo taken from calciomatome. No copyright infringement intended. Original here.