Diminutive midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin’s star is clearly rising after the Muangthong United midfielder on Monday secured a loan move to Japanese top-flight outfit Consadole Sapporo less than 48 hours after playing a crucial role in Thailand’s landmark victory in the Asean Championship.
The transfer to J-League’s newly promoted side capped off a remarkable year for the 23-year-old, who made a big splash in his first season at the “Twin Kirins” by helping them clinch a Thai League and League Cup double in October.
The former BEC Tero Sasana player proved just as impressive with the national team after playing a key part in helping the Kingdom win back-to-back Asean Championship titles at the weekend. A superb second-half display capped by an assist for Sirod Chatthong’s early strike after the break in Saturday’s second leg of the final at home to Indonesia provided compelling evidence of his significance to the team.
Sirod’s second goal of the evening at the packed Rajamangala National Stadium was crucial as it helped settle the Thais’ nerves and they held on for a 2-0 win that secured a 3-2 aggregate success and a record-breaking fifth regional crown.
The Thai team’s successful title defence also attested to Chanathip’s professional attitude since he was not distracted by the intense speculation about his move to the Sapporo-based club that surfaced just before the start of the regional championship.
Muangthong chairman Pongsak Pholanan said Chanathip will continue to play for the Thai League club in the opening half of 2017 season to help them compete in the AFC Champions League’s group stages before joining Consadole on a one-and-a-half year loan deal.
“Today, we see the dream of a Thai footballer come true,” Pongsak told a press conference at Muangthong’s home ground yesterday.
“We’ll have the first Thai player plying his trade in the J-League. We’ve been in contact [with Consadole] for a while. It’s a process that has taken some time because never before has a Thai player moved to Japan.
“We had been very concerned about letting Chanathip join them when they were still in the second division since we believed he should play in the Japanese topflight. Once they won the second division to earn automatic promotion to the J-League, we managed to reach an agreement.
“He will initially join them on loan for one and a half years with an option to make the deal permanent. Jay will travel there in July and will to try to acclimatise. Right now it is too cold in Japan and that could pose a problem. This arrangement will allow him to play with us in the ACL.”