After a fair few weeks of speculation, Gamba finally announced the signing of 25 year-old midfielder turned right-back Koki Yonekura from JEF United Chiba.
The lad was the star for JEF last season who finished 5th in J2 last season. He converted to a right-back and got a stunning 11 assists from that position, more than anyone else plying their trade there. Additionally, he netted 6 goals, one of which came against Gamba at the Fukuda Denshi Arena back in July. He was immense that day and tore us apart, and I had to suffer the consequences being there that day.
He is a JEF boy through and through having lived in Chiba his whole life and his only professional team has been JEF up until this point. For JEF and their reserve team, he picked up 162 appearances since 2007, scoring 26 goals. The question for him now is if he can step-up another level in his performances for us in J1.
He has some experienced competition for him to look forward to at Gamba. He will have to tussle with Akira Kaji for the right-back spot or he could slip into the right-midfield position just as easily. His arrival does cast doubts on the future of Oh Jae-Suk who has not been able to take Kaji’s spot as of yet. We could be looking at a new formation for Gamba with his arrival – a system with wing-backs has already been touted as a possibility by fans.
The signings so far have been excellent and Yonekura is one of the most exciting. He found it difficult to leave the team he loves so dearly but wants to improve himself as a player. He will certainly get a chance to improve at Gamba and play at the level he definitely deserves to play at.
Welcome aboard Koki, please do your best and I very much look forward to seeing you tear-up the opposition’s left-hand side as much as Fujiharu does on the opposite flank!