Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Rodrigo Pimpao Signs!

The Squirrels have confirmed the rumours that have been circulating in both Japan and Brazil over the last couple of days with the announcement that Rodrigo Pimpao has joined the club. The 23-year-old forward played the first half of the season at Cerezo Osaka, scoring four goals in fourteen J1 appearances, but the Cherries turned down the option to extend the loan deal from Vasco da Gama. Rodrigo Pimpao played his last game in a blue and pink shirt on 16th July, a 4-1 loss to Vissel Kobe. He has now signed for Omiya on loan until the end of this year.

The last few weeks have exposed a major area of weakness in the Ardija squad, which the arrival of Rodrigo Pimpao is presumably an attempt to address. Following the injury against Gamba Osaka of Naoki Ishihara, Omiya have been left with a grand total of no attacking options: coach Jun Suzuki evidently feels that teenager Shintaro Shimizu is not ready even for a place on the bench, meaning that Rafael and Lee Chun Soo are the only two forwards left. Both of them have good points but both have been disappointing in front of goal this season - predictably enough, given that neither of them can be considered out-and-out scorers in the way that Ishihara is.

Naoki fans will be concerned that his first team opportunities will be reduced yet further by the new arrival. But given coach Jun Suzuki's tendency to use players out of position (and how Ardija have suffered as consequence of winger Lee being played as a striker, not least in Saturday's loss to Yokohama F Marinos) it is impossible to imagine how Rodrigo Pimpao will be deployed. Regular starter or substitute? One of the two main forwards or an offensive midfielder? With Suzuki in charge, who knows - and this is on top of the things that fans always wonder about incoming players, such as whether they will settle at a new club.

But Rodrigo Pimpao does at least provide a choice. If Shintaro Shimizu isn't up to the job, maybe the Brazilian can contribute, improving the squad and doing a better job at taking chances than Lee and Rafael. He might not be a target man but he's fast and has scored a few times for an erratic Cerezo team struggling to keep its league form going while progressing in the ACL. That might be enough to push Omiya in the right direction by enabling us to win close games like Marinos - which we'd likely have won if Chun Soo and an actual scorer, Masashi Oguro, had swapped sides. But from hereon in it's down to the coach to make the right decisions.



Michael 4 August 2011 at 02:38  

At this moment in time I'm simply glad of the extra body. Rafael's form has been patchy all season and Lee has never been an out-and-out striker (in fact his career goal record is pretty poor even for a wide midfielder).
Things are bunched so tightly that we could go either way in the next few games. Ardija's history has me looking down not up.

Furtho 5 August 2011 at 01:04  

Broadly agree, Michael. It's impossible to know what Suzuki is thinking but just having an extra guy in there can only be a good thing at the moment. I do think that Lee has had more than a fair chance and he either can't or won't adapt to the way that Suzuki wants him to play. Why he should be required to do so is another question, of course, but I really do believe we would have beaten Marinos if we'd had Oguro and they'd had Chun Soo. There really wasn't that much between the teams as regards overall quality of play, but Oguro is a decent chance-taker. Awful hair, though, of course.

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