It's official. Lucas Neill has joined Omiya Ardija.
Here is a piece on it from Neill's management company's website.
Interestingly, the writer suggests the Squirrels regularly provide players for Japan's national team. I don't remember us doing that at all in the time I have been following the club. In fact, I read that it had taken place only once and even then it was as a substitute in a friendly game.
Still, that's the role of agents, to generate interest in their player.
Clearly this move to Ardija is part of a strategy for Neill to make sure he is in Australia's world cup squad come next summer in Brazil. But what do the Squirrels get?
Well, hopefully we get a very experienced defender who our current crop of young defenders can learn from. Takahashi and Imai will be able to see him on the training pitch and during matches if Neill gets picked to play. Let's hope they take the chance to learn from him as it is very rare for Ardija's young players to come into close contact with a player who has represented his country almost 100 times, played in World Cups and played in England's Premier League.
If he gets on the pitch, the fans will see a committed, hard tackling performance from Neill.
But can he help arrest Ardija's six match losing slide?
His age, speed and fitness must be a concern. His name makes this transfer sound a bigger move than it is in reality. It's a short term move, which quite possibly will suit both sides equally. But it's not a transfer that will change the outcome of this season nor will it have much of an impact on where Ardija go next season and in the future.
Having said that, it could be a fun ride, and I wish Neill all the best for his time at Omiya Ardija and hope it goes well for him and for the team.