Tom’s Transfer Talk: Port Court National Team Duo

 

After a shockingly quiet off-season so far, Port rumours have become the talk of the town in the last couple of days. We’ve been opining for some time that in order to make any kind of league challenge Port’s central midfield would need bolstering, and this is very much in line with the big rumour of the moment, concerning two Thai national team stars.

The rumour which started all of this said that the Thai Busquets (more on that nickname later) Tanaboon Kesarat and Bangkok United’s prolific midfielder Sumanya Purisai would be playing together next season at a Bangkok club. The link was quickly made with Port, but what really makes these rumours sound likely was the follow-up story that Madame Pang intends to announce three big signings after the new year.

Whilst the bigger name of the two is undoubtedly Tanaboon, I’m firmly of the opinion that Sumanya is a much better fit for Port in 2019. Or pretty much any team at any time for that matter.

One of the most highly rated stars of Thailand’s ‘golden generation’, Tanaboon is lauded for his ability to play in both central defence and defensive midfield, hence the link to Barcelona’s wily, horrible but bloody brilliant master of the dark arts Sergio Busquets. The problem is that two more different players have seldom existed.

While Busquets is famous for his gamesmanship and exists almost exclusively in the grey area between legal and illegal, Tanaboon wouldn’t recognize a tactical foul if it clipped his ankles from behind, just as he was ready to break forward. Nor would he recognize a gratuitously firm challenge if it knocked him on his arse. He’s a technically sound player, I’ll give him that, and his positional sense is better than most, but what Tanaboon lacks for me is the aggression and nous needed to be an effective defensive midfielder. Put simply, he’s just a bit of a wuss. One only has to watch him in partnership with his polar opposite Thitipan in the Thai midfield to see what I’m talking about. Whilst Thitipan incessantly harasses and fouls opposition players off the ball and drives forward on the ball, Tanaboon calmly stands around in his position and passes the ball sideways and backwards. It’s all well and good when you’re winning, but in big games and tough situations, I just can’t be persuaded that Tanaboon is good enough for Port, let alone Thailand.

 

 

Sumanya, on the other hand, was one of the stars of 2018, and would fit nicely in to Port’s midfield. The 32 year old struck a remarkable 12 goals and provided 8 assists last season for Bangkok United, with the hallmark of his game being his shooting. Where most Thai midfielders will almost always look for the extra pass, Sumanya is quite happy to have a pop at goal, and is also useful from dead ball situations, as Malaysia found out on Wednesday just seconds after he was substituted on. He’s obviously not a long term solution, but on current form he’s among the best Thai attacking midfielders around, and would surely displace Siwakorn in Port’s midfield. And seeing the pair of them doing shooting practice side by side would be a thing of hilarious beauty.

 


 

In closing, it’s probably worth mentioning that I’m still more than a little annoyed about Thailand’s pathetic exit against Malaysia in the Suzuki Cup last night and that some the shade I’m throwing Tanaboon’s way is not entirely unrelated to that. I’ve thought for some time that he’s Thailand’s most overrated player, but his signing would certainly be a positive statement of intent if nothing else. Needless to say his name and number won’t be going on my 2019 shirt if we do sign him. Oh, and he used to play for the scum.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Flash Back to Borneo

 

Crowd favourite and renowned speed demon Terens Puhiri headlines the latest batch of Port transfer news. The Indonesian spent 2018 on loan with Port, but was used sparingly by Jadet, with the 3+1+1 quota rules meaning that in order for Terens to play, one of the other foreign players would have to miss out. He managed just one league start, where he was forced to play at wing back for the majority of the game, and although he featured fairly regularly off the bench he rarely had more than a handful of minutes to make an impact. Few who were sat in Zone B behind the goal Port were attacking in the final home game of 2018 can forget screaming at the team to give Terens the ball to give the little man a chance to open his Port account, before the unselfish Terens squared to Bodin, giving a tap-in to his teammate rather than going for goal himself.

Popular with teammates and fans alike, it’s a shame that Terens has opted to return to his parent club Borneo FC, although he can hardly be blamed after being given so little time to impress in 2018. The real shame for Port is that with the new 3+1+3 quota, ASEAN players can be used alongside all other foreigners, meaning Terens was set to play a bigger role in 2019 than he had last season, but alas we won’t be seeing Flash in the PAT again anytime soon.

 

 

The next two names reported to be on the chopping block are Jetjinn Sriprach and Sammy Slot. This comes from goal.com’s list of confirmed transfers, although we are yet to see official confirmation byt he club or either of the players.

It would certainly be no surprise to anyone if Jetjinn has received his marching orders, with star youngster Kevin and Jadet favourite Panpanpong consistently favoured over the former Honda full back. One way or another, the writing is clearly on the wall, with Yossawat returning from his loan spell and Port bringing in Fox Hunt youngster Nutchanon Sojit there are currently five left backs, and Jetjinn may well be number 5 in the reckoning.

 

 

The situation with Sammy Slot is a little different. Apparently signed on a long term deal from under the noses of Muangthong, Thai Danish forward Slot was given a few minutes off the bench in the second half of the season, although we didn’t really get a chance to see enough of the youngster to determine if he was up to scratch or not. His one assist, achieved by tackling an opponent in the box before Siwakorn curled in a spectacular finish, was his only contribution of note. If goal.com are to be believed we might never find out if he’s any good or not, and more importantly the Sandpit writers will never get to write the headlines that could have been. Oh, how they could have been…

 

Confirmed Signings

 

 

Finally, my investigative Instagramming last time out turned out to be on the money, and we finally have the awkward hostage-style Pangograph to prove it. Fox Hunt duo Jirattikan Vapilai and Nutchanon Sojit are now Port players, and will hopefully be given the opportunity to impress in pre-season and make a case for first team involvement in 2019.

 

And Finally…

 

 

The Spherical Supremo takes radical steps to get the best out of his squad. Dolah up front and Rochela in goal? In Jadet we trust!