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scouting

Bucheon Transfer - Crislan Henrique

With the transfer window coming to an end at the end of this month and Bucheon only making two signings in February after a busy January, it appeared as though Bucheon's  winter transfer business was over. However, it has now been announced that joining the club from after the start of the season from Portuguese side SC Braga is Brazilian striker Crislan. Our Bucheon columnists George Slade takes a look at his career and where he could fit in at the club.

(Image courtesy of Bucheon FC 1995)

Brazil

Crislan Henrique da Silva de Souza was born on 13th March 1992 in the city of Teresina, the capital of the northern Brazilian state of Piauí. He signed his first professional contract at local Série D club Comercial Atlético Clube, and shortly after joined local rivals River Atlético Clube. After a brief loan stint at Belo Jardim Crislan returned to River, where his goalscoring exploits in the state competition earned him a move to Clube Andraus Brasil, a team that he would spend three years at but not make an appearance for, as he would spend the entire time on loan at various clubs. 

This would include two separate loan spells at Série A club Atlético Paranaense, and at lower division clubs Boa Esporte Clube, Náutico Capibaribe, and Atlético Penapolense. While his goalscoring form in league competitions was relatively mediocre (for example, four goals in total in the Série B), Crislan's good form in state competitions (nine goals in the 2015 Campeonato Paulista for Penapolense) linked him to Brazilian giants Santos and several Rio de Janeiro clubs. However, he would instead go on to move abroad for the first time in his career, signing a five year deal for Portuguese club SC Braga in July 2015.

Portugal

Arriving at one of the biggest clubs in Portugal outside of the 'Big Three', Crislan's time in the north of Portugal initially started quite brightly. He made his debut in August and scored his first goal for the club later that same month. SC Braga would in fact go on to win the Portuguese Cup at the end of the season, giving Crislan the only winner's medal of his career to date. Personally, though, the season was not a success as the Brazilian striker only scored three goals in 20 matches across the 2015-16 season. 


Crislan would only go on to play twice more for Braga, both matches coming in the following season between two different loan spells, the first of which coming at fellow Portuguese Primeira Liga club C.D. Tondela. This was initially set to be a season-long loan, but after failing to score in 11 matches for the relegation threatened outfit, the loan was terminated in January 2017. Later that month Crislan found himself on loan again, this time to J1 League team Vegalta Sendai. 


Japan

This time Crislan would remain at Vegalta Sendai for the entirety of the season-long loan and would go on to produce the best form of his career. In 37 matches in all competitions the Brazilian scored 13 goals and created three assists as he helped the team reach the semi-finals of the J.League Cup and to a 12th placed finish in the league. Crislan scored some very acrobatic goals, and while his loan was not made permanent, he did catch the eye of other clubs in the country. 

He found himself on loan again in Japan, this time to Shimizu S-Pulse. Shimizu would go on to finish eighth at the end of the 2018 season, but while the club did well that year, Crislan himself saw a decline in form. His assists record went up to five for the season, but across 26 matches in all competitions he only scored five goals. He played second fiddle to compatriot Douglas and local player Koya Kitagawa, who both scored double digits in the league alone.

This resulted in it taking longer to find a new loan suitor for Crislan, but eventually in July 2019 he moved to top tier Japanese club Shonan Bellmare, after a matchless six months back at Braga. This would prove to be his least successful loan spell in Japan yet, as Crislan failed to score in just eight appearances at the club. After the loan expired in January 2020 he returned to Braga to yet again not feature for the first team, meaning that once he makes his debut for Bucheon it will be his first competitive match since 2019. A big question is whether being out of first team football for sonlong will effect Crislan's ability to perform well at Bucheon, a team that will be really reliant on him to score goals.


Bucheon

Acrobatic and fast, Crislan is able to play as both the main centre-forward and as a second striker. While he is not the strongest player, his quick turn of pace and shooting ability means that he is best utilised leading the line as a number nine. This is probably the best way to allow him to recapture the form he showed at Vegalta Sendai in 2017, the best season of his career. Bucheon have brought in a lot of players this winter, but have under-invested up front as they have only brought in one other out-and-out striker in the form of Chu Jung-ho. In their opening match of the season, a 2-1 defeat to Daejeon, Bucheon lined up in a 3-4-3 formation, with Chu on the left of a front three with Park Ha-bin (who was sent off) on the right and Cho Gun-gyu in the middle. Bucheon's goal came from full-back debutant Park Chang-jun. If Bucheon are to continue with this formation then Crislan will likely play in the middle, perhaps being used in rotation with young prospect Cho. If Bucheon move to two up front then Cho and Chu will be the best candidates to form a partnership with Crislan. 

If the Brazilian can hit the ground running the he can go down in the Bucheon hall of fame alongside several other South American players who hold the majority of Bucheon's goalscoring records. Several of these players, such as Rodrigo Paraná, Lukian, and Willian Popp, have played in Japan before or after their spell at Bucheon, with varying degrees of success, showing that K League 2 is at a good level for players capable of playing in Japan. Success is not guaranteed, however, as was seen last season with ex-Mito Hollyhock and Montedio Yamagata striker Jefferson Baiano. Baiano performed well in the J2 League but he could not bring those performances over to Korea, scoring once (a penalty) and producing two assists in 11 appearances. An injury hit spell, Baiano's contract was terminated in October before the season finished. Bucheon will be hoping that Crislan follows more in the footsteps of Lukian rather than Baiano.

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