Charyl Chappuis joins Muang Thong United, targets Thailand title
Thailand international midfielder Charyl Chappuis is targeting a Thai League (T1) title after being added to the mid-season reinforcements of champions Muang Thong United.
The club are preparing for life after Chanathip Songkrasin, with the Southeast Asian superstar due to leave for J-League club Consadole Sapporo this week.
Thailand international Chappuis joins from Suphanburi, where he has spent the last three years, hoping to enjoy the success that eluded him at the ambitious but underachieving War Elephant.
And Muang Thong are counting on Chappuis' midfield drive to add an extra dimension to the team, following the loss of dynamic playmaker Chanathip.
"First of all, I would like to thank Suphanburi for looking after me so well, especially during the long period when I was nursing a nagging injury," Chappuis told The Bangkok Post.
"I am happy to become a new player of Muang Thong United and would like to win the championship with the club."
Chappuis is a former Switzerland youth international and featured in all seven matches as the Swiss side won the 2009 FIFA U17 World Cup.
After failing to establish himself with Grasshoppers in Switzerland, he made the move to Buriram United in 2013. He was part of the Buriram squad who won the treble that year, but moved onto Suphanburi the following season.
The end of 2014 saw Chappuis become a household name in Thailand as his outstanding performances for the national side inspired them to the AFF Suzuki Cup title.
Unfortunately, this was also the start of an injury nightmare that lasted almost 18 months, as he had to have surgery on his knee.
However, Chappuis has had a clean bill of health for over a year now. At 25 years old, this is a great opportunity for him to re-establish himself as one of the top midfielders in the country.
Chappuis' new club started the season superbly, building up a seven-point lead at the top of T1 and getting through to the Round of 16 in the AFC Champions League (ACL). Unfortunately, the wheels came off in spectacular fashion last month.
Three straight league defeats saw Buriram United draw level with them in T1 while a crushing 7-2 aggregate loss to Kawasaki Frontale saw them exit the ACL with a whimper.
The champions have now moved decisively in the mid-season transfer window to try and ensure that they retain their title.
In addition to the capture of Chappuis, powerful Thailand international striker Siroch Chatthong joins from Ubon UMT United, while central midfielder Thossawat Limwannasathian has moved on loan from Army United after spending the first half of the year at Chiang Rai United.
Another Thailand international midfielder Prakit Deeprom joins from Chonburi and veteran Brazilian striker Leandro Assumpcao was a surprise addition after an excellent Leg 1 at Sisaket.
Another Brazilian striker Heberty Fernandes is also now available to play, having been signed earlier in the year, but too late to register for the start of the T1 campaign. Prolific striker Heberty was T1 Player of the Year in 2014 with Ratchaburi, and he should provide the kind of predatory finishing that has been missing since Cleiton Silva left for China in February.
With Chappuis and the rest of their considerable reinforcements on board, the champions look well equipped to retain their title, putting a miserable month of May behind them.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK