One of Thailand’s star players Theerathon Bunmathan has been heavily targeted by a host of Asian clubs but he has set his sights on moving from Muangthong United to Japanese side Vissel Kobe. If he does move to the J-League he will follow in the footsteps of some of Thailand’s other star players, specifically Chanathip Songkrasin and Teerasil Dangda.
Bunmathan, otherwise simply known as Aum started his career with Rajpracha making 10 appearances before moving to Buriram United where he came to prominence as the best left back to emerge from South East Asia. Since that first appearance in 2009 for Buriram, he has gone on to cement his spot as arguably the best left back in all of Asia.
Possessing great technical skill with the fluid ability to combine the attributes needed to attack and defend in equal measure, as shown by scoring 15 goals from fullback for Buriram in 218 games; but he went on to better these stats with a move to bitter rivals Muangthong United scoring 9 goals in 41 games. A dead ball specialist, who is particularly adept at scoring from free kicks, he has even managed to score some goals direct from corners.
The stats alone show why teams around Asia would be looking to sign Aum as fullbacks in the region either specialise in defending or attacking but rarely manage to do both. Aum offers the complete package of a roaming fullback, with the added bonus of exquisite set pieces and a goal threat. If Vissel Kobe does sign Aum then they’re getting one hell of a player who has the ability to transform their whole team dynamic, and with them having Lukas Podolski and Mike Haveneer on their books no doubt they’ll be expecting to see a lot more headed goals next season.
If this is the start of a trend from Japanese clubs to buy the best players from South East Asia it could turn out to be a good policy to compete with the big money clubs from China, unlike the players going to China whose intent isn’t entirely clear, the South East Asians will be determined to prove they can cut it in a league that is deemed to be a higher level. With the standard of football improving across most of the South East Asian nations, Thailand especially we could very well see more clubs throughout East Asia attempting the same strategy.