Operating on one of the smallest budgets in the first division, FC Tokyo have to be careful and convinced when they sign a new player.
In Brazilian central defender Jean, they have one of the most under-rated foreign players in the league this season.
The 25-year-old has had an outstanding debut season in the Tokyo blue after joining the club from Bahia FC to replace libero Sandro.
At Tokyo Stadium last Sunday, for example, Jean was magnificent in the heart of the Tokyo defense as the home team beat Urawa Reds 1-0 in extra time.
Urawa's much-vaunted Brazilian strikeforce of Emerson and Tuto rarely got a sight of goal thanks to the determined defensive work of Jean and Teruyuki Moniwa, who shows great promise for a 21-year-old.
Defense starts much further forward, though, in any team, and Tokyo's forwards and midfielders also contributed to a solid team performance in an exciting spectacle watched by a crowd of over 36,000.
Jean was more than satisfied with Tokyo's performance in particular, and with his first season in Japan in general.
"First I concentrated on fitting into the team, then on fitting into the J.League," said the modest Jean.
"It has been my first season in Japan, so I've had to concentrate hard on my own performance in every game.
"If we all do that, the results will be good, and that is what happened."
After 14 of the 15 second-stage games, FC Tokyo are fourth in the table on 22 points, 10 behind newly-crowned champions Jubilo Iwata. Gamba Osaka are second on 27 and Kashima Antlers third on 23.
In the final round of games Saturday, Tokyo are away to Kashima.
"It's important to go there and win because we want to finish as high up in the table as possible," added Jean.
As for the future, he said: "We have a lot of young players in the team and they will improve with experience.
"On top of that, we can all improve our individual quality.
"The manager (Hiromi Hara) has a concept of solid defense and counterattack, and we have followed that well this season to become a strong team.
"We all believe in the manager's concept and this enables us to produce a good performance on the pitch."
It's unlikely that Jean will be among the J.League Best XI on the annual awards night on December 16, but FC Tokyo fans know he is one of the best defenders in the league.
And so do Tuto and Emerson.