ASEAN Scouting Report: Midfielders

 

In the third of my five articles about scouting ASEAN players we are looking at midfielders. Here are the previous two, which cover goalkeepers and defenders. I’ve separated wingers in to a separate category, so today we’re just looking at defensive, central or attacking midfielders.

I should also clarify something which I’ve had a few questions and comments about in relation to the specifics of the ASEAN quota rule. T1’s quota system details that only transfers of players with 3 or more international caps are guaranteed, which would render most of the players I’m talking about ineligible. However, the rule goes on to state that if teams can sufficiently explain the importance of the transfer to the FAT then exemptions can be given. Amin Nazari, Josh Grommen, Curran Ferns and Marco Casambre all fall in to that category, so presumably the interpretation is quite broad.

With the rule explained, here are our five midfielders. This is a position in which Port have plenty of cover, but whilst we have numbers we don’t necessarily have much quality outside of our starting XI. At least, we don’t have quality which Port management recognizes as such. My suggestions provide both experienced and youthful options, and all come at relatively low cost.

 


 

Gaston Salasiwa

 

 

Transfermarkt Value: ฿8m

Position: CM

Current Club: Notodden FK (Norwegian second tier)

Nationality: Dutch/Indonesian

Age: 31

Height: 1.71m

 

A central midfielder who has spent most of his career playing in the Dutch and Norwegian second tiers, Salasiwa also played for a season in Indonesia. He’s a dead ball specialist with a wicked left foot, and judging from his highlight reel he also likes to have a pop from distance. I couldn’t find any info on whether or not he actually has an Indonesian passport, but the fact that he’s played in Indonesia suggests that he might. Currently in the Norwegian second tier, Salasiwa could be a shrewd signing, although most clubs would probably not want to commit to more than a year contract for a 31 year old.

 

Mike Ott

 

 

Transfermarkt Value: ฿4m

Position: CM

Current Club: Ceres Negros (Philippines first tier)

Nationality: German/Filipino

Age: 24

Height: 1.67m

 

He’s already played a season in Thailand, netting 7 goals in 21 appearances for Angthong Utd in 2017, before moving to Ceres Negros in The Philippines. His older brother Manuel currently plays for Ratchaburi too, so there’s plenty to suggest that Mike would be tempted by a T1 move. The pint-sized midfielder has scored a serious amount of goals everywhere he has been, including nearly a goal every other game at Ceres Negros, so would provide stiff competition for places in attacking midfield. He’s probably not the caliber of player who’s going to walk in to the first team, but he could certainly be of great value to a club like Port. I can’t find a highlight reel for him, but he scores an injury time winner in this AFC Cup clash against Persija Jakarta which also features a penalty save from one Roland Müller.

 

Brendan Gan

 

 

Transfermarkt Value: –

Position: CM

Current Club: Perak FA (Malaysian first tier)

Nationality: Australian/Malaysian

Age: 31

Height: 1.80m

 

I find it completely mental that Brendan Gan has no Transfermarkt value given the performance he put in for Malaysia against Thailand earlier this month. He’s an all action midfielder with a little bit of everything in his game, and would probably get in to most T1 first teams. He’s a former A League player who also has a few years playing in Malaysia, and has been capped 15 times since 2016. He probably wouldn’t walk straight in to Port’s first team, but he would certainly provide healthy competition, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won himself a place in time. This highlight reel from this year shows what he’s all about. Gan maybe 31, but he’s in absolutely peak physical condition, as he doesn’t tire of showing off with his bicep-flexing goal celebrations.

 

Phi Nguyen

 

 

Transfermarkt Value: –

Position: DM

Current Club: La Tour/Le Pacquier (Swiss fifth tier)

Nationality: Swiss/Vietnamese

Age: 23

Height: –

 

Phi Nguyen may be playing in the Swiss fifth tier now, but he has also represented Switzerland at all youth levels up to U19, so he must be a decent player. Apparently comfortable in defence or midfield, a club like Port could certainly get something out of a player with this profile, although he would obviously have some work to do to get in to the starting XI. His highlight reel isn’t much to look at, but at least they’ve made an effort to show which player he is.

 

Kobe Jae Chong

 

 

Transfermarkt Value: –

Position: CM

Current Club: Banbury Utd (English seventh tier)

Nationality: English/Malaysian

Age: 18

Height: 1.80m

 

This lad has packed a lot of clubs in to his young career. He’s only 18 and he’s already played in Italy, trialed in Portugal and represented a host of English clubs. He is apparently open to the idea of representing Malaysia in the future, so it might be an idea for a Thai club to bring him over for a trial and see what he can do. No harm in giving him a go. He looks pretty tidy in this highlight reel.

 


 

For inquiries about other players I’ve looked at in the research for this article, send me an email at earlsy@outlook.com

 

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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