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Transfer Profile: Takumi Kiyomoto


Last week, news broke that Gangwon had dipped into the Japanese transfer market and had signed established midfielder, Takumi Kiyomoto. Kiyomoto is 25 years old, plays in midfield, and has spent the whole of his career playing in the J League 2. He joins Gangwon FC from Oita Trinita and to get more details we spoke to Stuart Smith of Sushi Football. 
(Image via Gangwon-fc.com)

How was he viewed at Oita Trinita? What was the perception of him league-wide?

When he first came into the league, it was at his local club FC Gifu. There had been some rumors about a precocious talent coming through, and Kiyomoto spent a summer at Feyenoord’s academy in Holland (coached by ex-Holland forward Roy Makaay) along with some other European experience during his high school days.

When he finally made the leap to the pro ranks, it was unfortunately bad timing for him, as he joined a Gifu team that was often struggling, finishing low in the league every year. Gifu was also a team that wasn’t really set up in a way that made best use of his talents. When he left to join Oita, who at the time were in a lower league, he thrived, scoring six times, as an attack minded midfielder, his Trinita side went on to win the J3.

He was primed for a big year in 2017, but he suffered a serious cruciate knee ligament injury in preseason and it took almost the entire season for him to get back on the training pitch. But Kiyo (as he is commonly referred to by players & fans alike) is a very hard worker, and when he returned he looked like the player he was before his injury.

At Oita he was viewed as a very useful squad member, able to cover in a number of positions. This year, Oita were an attacking juggernaut, scoring 76 goals, as they gained promotion to J1. Kiyomoto only started three times, but made 26 appearances on the field and Oita manager, Katanosaka, is on record as saying that he was a key piece of Oita’s attacking armory.

What are the strongest aspects of his game?

He’s got great stamina, and he will run all day if he is allowed to. He has the ability to arrive in the box late to get on the end of pullbacks and crosses, and he has a decent ability to drift into space in and around the penalty area.

Does he have any weaknesses?

I think his versatility, while not a weakness per se, prevented him from nailing down a consistent place in Oita’s side. He wasn’t an indispensable player, and he was often first choice to cover injuries across the midfield line in Oita. Also, despite playing in a very influential position, he hasn’t really grabbed games by the throat and dictated them, but some of that is down to what he has been specifically tasked to do by coaches.

What were his reasons for leaving?

As alluded to in a previous answer, he wasn’t a regular by any means, and Oita have gone out and strengthened ahead of their return to J1, by bringing in some exciting (by J.League standards) attacking talent. The depth that Oita now have means that Kiyo was unfortunately deemed surplus to requirements.

Where do you think he would be best utilized with Gangwon FC?

His best position, in my opinion, is as an attacking midfielder. He can play anywhere across that line, but most often he found himself on the right or in the centre. In those kinds of positions, he can use his sharp eye for a through pass or his close control ability to dribble past players into dangerous positions. If Gangwon have done their homework, that’s where I’d expect him to play.

What should K League fans expect from him?

Lots of hard work, and some good link up and attacking play.

What was his best moment in the J League? 

This his was his first goal back after his cruciate knee ligament injury. Not a bad way to reintroduce yourself to the league.



And this was last year, against Omiya Ardija. A nice burst through and a pretty neat finish.



K League United would like to thank Stuart for contributing to this piece. Stuart is a Japanese football enthusiast and FC Gifu expert. You can find him on Twitter, here. 

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