Tom’s Transfer Talk: Silly Season Returns!

 

Look! A picture! Of footballers! At PAT Stadium!

I don’t know about you, but the mere sight of over-nourished footballers jogging breathlessly around the hallowed turf of PAT Stadium is enough to get my football juices flowing, and so after a lengthy hiatus I can now declare silly season officially… OPEN!

Let the pictures of mysterious unnamed footballers be shown to all, let baseless rumours of transfers that will never happen cover The Sandpit gossip pages, let us speculate about everything and nothing for no reason other than to quell our boredom. And let’s do it right now!

 

 

We start with pictures of a couple of myserious newbies. They look young, and our sources tell us that they’re Fox Hunt graduates, so we could have a couple of future stars if we’re lucky.

The fella on the right looks very much like 20 year old midfielder Jirattikan Vapilai, nicknamed Trunk, who played for OH Leuven and Leicester alongside last season’s success story Anon. His Instagram is here. I think the other is Nutchanon Sojit, who trained at Leicester and has recently been playing for Police Tero. His Instagram is here. We don’t know whether they are on trial with Port or have been signed already, so await further developments. In fact, I’m not 100% these are even the right guys!

Unfortunately, no non-Thai ASEAN players have been spotted yet. With the new quota allowing for up to 3 ASEAN players being used on the pitch alongside all other foreigners (as opposed to last season when your one ASEAN player had to be used instead of one of the other foreigners) Port certainly should be shopping around countries like Myanmar and Indonesia, while scouting for half-ASEAN players all across Europe. Think of last season’s breakout star Aung Thu, our very own Terens Puhiri, or half Danish half Filipino goalkeeping star Michael Falkesgaard. There are all sorts of options out there.

 

 

Now to pictures of people we know, but are not quite sure why they’re there. Former Port winger Pinyo Inpinit pops up in this category every year, as I’m never quite sure if he’s fit, who he belongs to or if he’s even capable of playing 90 minutes without shattering in to smithereens. If I had to guess I would say he’s about 62% fit, he’s a free agent and there’s absolutely no way he could last a full game without fracturing at least one vertebrae.

 

 

Moving swiftly along, we have some photos of Port players who were sent on loan last season. We’re delighted to see Yossawat Montha back with us. He didn’t have a particularly successful time on loan at Ubon and Prachuap last season, but then you don’t have to be particularly great to still be a whole lot better than Port’s backup left back Panpanpong (19). As a player who has played for Buriram and represented Thailand at youth level, you’ve got to think that a young Yossawat is a more sensible option to keep on than perennial backup Panpanpong. We’ve been wrong before, though. There is no indication whatsoever than Jadet even acknowledges Yossawat’s existence, so odds are that he won’t be with Port when the season starts. Apparently Port’s finest proponent of lulz and banter, at least he’ll be able to entertain the rest of squad until Nurul gets back from international duty. Judging by the picture, he’s got Suarez going already!

 

 

Then there’s one who did pretty well on loan last season, although he ended up suffering relegation anyway. Athibordee Athirat (l) slotted straight in to Navy’s midfield and his arrival coincided with a stirring revival of fortunes in Sattahip, although it was never likely to be enough to keep them above water. This solid, versatile fella is a decent squad option, although we can’t help but feel like we’re pretty well covered in central defence and midfield already. Could go either way, this one.

 

 

Here’s a surprise. Worawut Namvech (24) was on loan at Port from Chiang Rai last season, and despite appearing regularly for and even captaining the Thai under 23 side, he played just a handful of minutes last season, with Rochela, Dolah, Todsapol and even Athibordee being preferred. We expected him to be straight off back up North, but he’s still training with Port, so the possibility of securing a deal for the promising youngster must still be there. More news if and when I hear it.

 

 

Pummared Kladkleep (41) and Jetjinn Sriprach (15) weren’t loaned out per se last season, but both turned out several times for Port B in T4 while failing to make a single appearance in T1. They were both at training, but I expect to neither to still be on the books once the season starts. Jetjinn ought to be able to get a decent gig in T2, although Pummared may have to look to T3 if he wants to play regularly.

 

 

And how about the ones who weren’t pictured? Bajram Nebihi has unsurprisingly made his way quietly out of the back door, having had underwhelming loan spells with Chiang Rai and then Chonburi. The battle for a place in Port’s 2018 squad was tight between him and Suarez, but the Spaniard well and truly secured his spot for 2019 with some superb performances in the first half of last season. Tatchanon Nakarawong is another who was not pictured in training. He made a daft sideways loan move to Chonburi, before seeing sense and dropping down a division with former club Army, for whom he apparently did rather well. He’s not on Jadet’s favourites list though, and the arrival of Anon (20) has probably put paid to any chance of us seeing this promising youngster get a run in Port’s first team. A shame, but with Port’s sights being trained towards the top of T1, it’s no surprise. Finally, Thanakorn Saipanya was also not pictured at training. And no, I’m not just making names up to test you. After spending part of the season with Port B and then being shipped out to a lower league on loan, there’s absolutely no chance whatsoever of us seeing him in our T1 squad in 2019.

 

Gossip

 

The only piece of real gossip we’ve had so far this off-season is the potential arrival of Bangkok United midfielder Sansern Limwattana. Wikipedia says the deal is done but we’re not so sure, although the rumours do seem to be pretty consistent. Sansern is a young central midfielder who played on loan at Sukhothai last season, and his brother plays for Muangthong. Sansern has been around the block quite a bit for a 21 year old. He started his career in New Zealand, and has been on the books at Buriram and Bangkok United, who have both loaned him out multiple times. he’s also represented Thailand at youth level. His arrival and retaining Anon could potentially pave the way for the departure of one of Port’s more established midfielders, but let’s wait for the deal to be confirmed before we go down that route. He’s also a right-footed free-kick specialist, so Pakorn had better watch his back!

 

Coach Swap

 

 

Port have also hired a new fitness coach, with Rod Pellegrino making way for an as yet unnamed compatriot. Apparently he speaks fluent Thai, and he was with Police Tero last season. Sounds alright. Our thanks of course go to Rod, who did a sterling job over the last 2 seasons with Port. It can’t be easy trying to whip some of our players in to shape, it must be said!

 

Tom Earls

Tom Earls

Having moved to Thailand aged 10, Tom has been playing or watching football in Thailand for more than 18 years. A keen follower of the Thai National Team and an avid fan of Port FC, he is a regular contributor to The Sandpit.

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