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Gamba acquires Kaji, Alves

Kyodo

Gamba Osaka, who are aiming for a second straight title in the J. League top flight, said Friday they have acquired Tokyo FC defender Akira Kaji and Brazilian striker Magno Alves from Oita Trinita.

Japan striker Masashi Oguro, who played a central role in Gamba’s attack last season, moved to French second-division club Grenoble earlier this month while Brazilian striker Araujo, the J-League’s top scorer, left the first-division side in December.

Gamba Osaka took the initiative to bolster the team, acquiring former Japan national midfielder Tomokazu Myojin on Thursday from Kashiwa, who were relegated to the second division.

Kaji, who turned 26 on Friday, played for Cerezo Osaka and Oita Trinita before moving to FC Tokyo in 2002.

He was named to the national squad in 2003 and sealed his position on the right side of the pitch. Kaji has been capped 35 times and helped Japan book their place in this year’s World Cup finals in Germany.

Magno Alves notched up 18 goals last season and was the J-League’s joint-third top scorer.