Goalkeeper Lam to leave Thailand for Japanese league hinh anh 1Goalkeeper Dang Van Lam is said to have signed a deal with J1 League side Cezero Osaka. (Photo: laodong.com)
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Dang Van Lam looks set to be the first Vietnamese player to compete in Japan’s J1 League after reportedly signing a deal with Cerezo Osaka FC.

Negotiations between Lam and Cerezo Osaka are done and a transfer deal between his current team Muangthong United of the Thai League 1 and Osaka has reportedly been agreed.

Details have not been revealed yet but the Japanese powerhouse is believed to have paid Muangthong 1 million USD to sign Lam.

Vietnam’s No 1 goalkeeper’s contract with Muangthong United was set to expire on May 31, 2022.

Neither club has made an official announcement of the deal as yet.

Before Lam, Vietnamese players Le Cong Vinh (Consodale Sapporo, 2013), Nguyen Cong Phuong (Mito Hollyhock, 2016) and Nguyen Tuan Anh (Yokohama FC, 2016) all played in Japan's second tier, the J2 League.

Lam moved from Vietnam’s Hai Phong FC to Muangthong United in early 2019. He performed well in his first year but an ankle injury led to an up and down 2020, leading to his benching.

Moving to his new club, Lam will have to fight for his berth in the first team against Kim Jin-hyeon and Ahn Jun-su of the Republic of Korea and locals Shu Mogi and Takumi Nagaishi.

However, Lam, 27, cannot travel to Cerezo Osaka at present as Japan has closed its borders at least until February because of the pandemic.

Cerezo Osaka placed fourth last season behind Kashima Antlers, Sanfreece Hiroshima and FC Tokyo, qualifying for the AFC Champions League’s play-offs this April.

Established as Yanmar Diesel in 1957, the club, changed its name several times before becoming Cerezo Osaka in 2018. They were promoted to J1 League in 1995. Their best result is third in 2010 and 2017. They won the J.League Cup in 2017, the Emperor's Cup and the Super Cup in 2018.

“It is clearly a big step in his career. I am not surprised with this news because he is one of the best players in Vietnam’s team and strongly support him in this move,” said pundit Nguyen Quang Huy.

“With his abilities I believe he will take his chance and do it well, making it a strong push for our football.”

Pundit Ngo Quang Tung added that Japan is Asia's leading football country and while Lam will have to work hard for his place in the first team, the move was good news for him and Vietnam.

Lam is considered one of ASEAN's top goalkeepers and won the AFF Cup in 2018 with the Vietnamese national team./.