Chanathip completes Kawasaki transfer
published : 12 Jan 2022 at 07:00
newspaper section: Sports
writer: Tor Chittinand
Thailand midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin has completed a move to Kawasaki Fontale, the Japanese champions announced on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old, who helped Thailand win their sixth AFF Suzuki Cup title this month, joins Kawasaki from fellow J-League club Consadole Sapporo.
The playmaker, one of Thailand's best footballers of all-time, signed a three-year contract with his new club.
While his transfer fee was undisclosed, reports said it was in the region of 120-130 million baht.
"Welcome Chanathip Songkrasin," Kawasaki said on their website.
They said they were excited to announce the arrival of an "important player."
"Although several clubs wanted to sign Chanathip, he chose Kawasaki Fontale," the club said.
"We are very proud and feel great."
While Chanathip said he wanted to help his new team to retain the J-League crown, he admitted that he would have to fight for a first-team place.
"I want to use all my experience to help the team," said Chanathip, who is dubbed 'Messi Jay.'
"I will do my best to make the team successful again."
Chanathip dismissed reports that he indeed wanted a move to a European club.
"I never want to play in Europe. I know it is difficult to get a chance to play there," Chanathip said.
"Indeed, my dream was playing in the J-League or K-League [in South Korea]. I think playing in these two leagues are great for Thai players."
He said several Thai players are good enough to play in Japan, particularly Thailand forward Supachok Sarachat.
Chanathip moved from Thai League 1 side Muang Thong United to Consadole Sapporo in 2017.
He was voted to be a member of the J-League's best team of the 2018 season, becoming the first Southeast Asian player to receive the honours.
Chanathip was appointed as captain of the Thai team for the Suzuki Cup.
He helped the War Elephants claim a record-extending sixth Suzuki Cup title in Singapore on New Year's Day.
The diminutive star was named the player of the tournament and shared the golden boot award with teammate Teerasil Dangda.