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A Real Captain Tsubasa?!
There was a flurry of gossip regarding the future of Shinji Ono in the media today; nothing concrete, but a ruffle of excitement and confusion regarding what that deal will be:

article links Ono with Tottenham, Charlton Athletic, and Aston Villa.

article (in Japanese) sites a number of media sources in Europe discussing the possibility that Ono will be let go from Feyenoord this year. There is mention of Ono's injury that forced him to operate late last year, and the fact that teammate Hofs had impressed in Ono's position while he was unable to play. Another frustration that Feyenoord has faced with Ono was his obligations to the Japan NT and U23 last year -- particularly the JFA's requests to release Ono earlier than Fifa guidelines. Whether Feyenoord is using this as an excuse or using this timing to threaten the JFA, if the image of a difficult Japanese player spreads it could negatively affect the market for Japanese players in Europe.

article introduces comments from Feyenoord suits who seem to soften the idea that Ono is being kicked out, that it may not happen. They say that this would be a good time for them to look at transfers, and Ono has himself expressed interest in finding another team. His transfer fee of 7.6million euros is double what was paid for him in 2001.

article introduces an optimistic angle for Ono -- tubasa.jpgthat it is rumoured that Arsenal and Barcelona have shown interest at the possibility of Ono's availability. Although this is a huge humongous gigantic IF, if, I say, if Ono plays with Barcelona, it will mean the birth of a "real" Captain Tsubasa! For those of you who don't know what the heck I'm talking about, Captain Tsubasa was/is a very famous football manga which depicted a gradeschool level football team. The main character was called Tsubasa, and the manga was a phenomenal success back in the 80s. Even now it continues with Captain Tsubasa all grown up and video games as well. The creator of the manga, Yoichi Takahashi, has said that if Captain Tsubasa were to exist it would probably be Shinji Ono playing at Barcelona... (Click here for the Tsubasa story)

I know that Ono has been wanting to leave the Netherlands for a while now (I remember seeing something at the end of 2003). I believe he has his heart set on the Spanish Liga, but it is a very competitive place and it is difficult to predict how they will judge his abilities. Personally I don't think he should go to the Premier League, as it doesn't suit his style. Though perhaps his good friend Inamoto can give him advice on that.
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