Veteran Japanese keeper finds a new club after leaving Metz
Veteran Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima left Metz at the end of last season and has been without a club since the World Cup ended. As he was unattached it meant that any club could sign him after the transfer window closed and Strasbourg have decided to do just that.
He had a few dodgy performances at the World Cup, but make no doubt about it Kawashima has a wealth of experience and has played in France for 2 years, with the year to come in Strasbourg being the 3rd meaning he won’t need any time to adapt to the French league or lifestyle.
Not only does Kawashima have experience in France, but he also has a wealth of European experience
Kawashima doesn’t only have experience of playing in France, his career has seen him play for clubs in Belgium, Scotland, France and his native Japan. When he moved to Kawasaki Frontale for 150 million yen, it was the largest fee paid for a player in the J League at the time.
After playing in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Kawashima completed a move to Europe by signing for Belgian side Lierse. After playing for Lierse he joined one of the biggest clubs in Belgium – Standard Liege for 600,000 Euros. After 3 years in at Standard, he then moved again this time to Scotland to play for Dundee United.
Playing for one season in Scotland with the Arabs, he suffered relegation with the club and was criticized for his debut for conceding soft goals. Dundee United’s manager at the time Mixu Paatelainen still described signing Kawashima as a coup for the club. After Dundee United was relegated though, they released Kawashima and he was again without a club.
French Ligue 1 side Metz decided it was a good move signing him and therefore bringing him to the French league for the first time in his career. At the start of his Metz career, however, he found himself as the backup keeper and had to be content with life on the bench. Once he got his chance he didn’t disappoint making a string of fine stops to establish himself as the clubs number one keeper. Unfortunately for Kawashima, he suffered another relegation playing for Metz and due to relegation, he was again released from a club.
This is where Strasbourg have stepped in and picked up a keeper with a wealth of experience playing in three different leagues in Europe, plus international competitions for Japan including being the countries number 1 keeper at World Cups.
First choice or backup, having a keeper with a wealth of experience on the books is desired by next to all clubs
Most clubs around the world love having an experienced goalkeeper on their books, I would say clubs love having experienced keepers more than outfield players. A lot of keepers don’t reach their peak years until their late 30s, unlike outfield players.
Clubs are most likely also keen to have an experienced keeper that is willing to pass on their knowledge to the younger guys in the squad. You see it even with the massive clubs in all major leagues if you look at French league specifically even PSG picked up Gigi Buffon this year and he is in his 40s these days. The wealth of experience someone like this can bring to the club and the knowledge they can pass onto younger players if they’re willing to be invaluable, basically, this type of player is more valuable to every club, more so than most fans even realise.