Thailand star Chanathip Songkrasin is moving to the J.League after signing a 18-month long loan deal with newly promoted side Consadole Sapporo.
Songkrasin, one of the heroes of the War Elephants record fifth AFF title on Saturday, will stay with current club Muang Thong United for the first half of the Thai season before making the switch in July 2017, according to reports.
— Muangthong United FC (@MuangthongUtd) December 19, 2016
The move comes after 23-year old Chanathip sealed his second successive MVP award while helping Thailand overcome Indonesia 2-0 in Saturday’s second leg.
Rumours of the move had been circulating before the start of the regional tournament.
Muang Thong Chairman Ponsak Pholanan said it was a dream come true for the young midfielder, who already has more than 200 career appearances.
“Today, we see the dream of a Thai footballer come true,” Pongsak told a press conference.
“We’ll have the first Thai player playing in the J-League. We’ve been in contact [with Consadole] for a while. It’s a process that has taken time because a Thai player has never moved to Japan before.”
Thai fans will be hoping that Chanathip’s move will be a success given that Thai stars have struggled to make an impact overseas in the past.
Chanathip’s teammate and AFF Suzuki Cup top scorer Teerasil Dangda moved back to Thailand after an unsuccessful spell with Almeria in La Liga that began in 2014.