Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Celtic Might Raid The Japanese Trio In Winter: Shrewd Business From Postecoglou?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Celtic are not done yet despite an array of summer signings and according to Sky Sports, Ange Postecoglou is set to explore the Japanese market once more to rope in three new names during the winter window. The success of Kyogo Furuhashi has encouraged the Hoops to make moves for Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi.

The Celts have recovered from a slow start and are keeping pace with bitter rivals Rangers at the top of the standings. Injuries halted their momentum early into the campaign and the gaffer, therefore, is keen on increasing the squad depth. The Gers have maintained a four-point lead for a while, but the forthcoming Old Firm derbies might be decisive for the Bhoys en route to reclaiming the Scottish crown.

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Maeda, the 24-year-old Yokohama F. Marinos striking sensation, has finished the season in style by becoming the joint top scorer (alongside Brazilian ace Leandro Damião who guided Kawasaki Frontale to conquer the league) of the 2021 J1 League. The Japan international has fired in 23 goals in 36 league outings, and therefore, has proved his sheer expertise high up the pitch ahead of a reunion with his former chief.

Celtic target Daizen Maeda celebrates after scoring
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN – JULY 28: Daizen Maeda #9 of Team Japan celebrates after scoring their side’s fourth goal during the Men’s Group A match between France and Japan on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at International Stadium Yokohama on July 28, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

While Maeda is an outright ‘number 9’, Hatate could be deployed as a utility option for his versatility across the pitch. The 24-year-old Kawasaki Frontale star has featured as a left fullback, central midfielder, ‘number 10’ as well as wide attacker. He has attuned to all the roles with commitment and composure, and his availability on a Bosman must be explored by the Glasgow giants given his significance in the Blue-blacks title triumph.

Ideguchi, meanwhile, is slightly more experienced as he had his spells in Europe in the recent past. The Gamba Osaka midfielder was roped in by Leeds United back in January 2018, but he spent his time out on loan with Cultural Leonesa in Spain and German outfit Greuther Fürth after failing to stake a claim in Marcelo Bielsa’s plans. The Blue Samurai international returned to his boyhood side and regained the lost charm over the past couple of years with regular gametime in the middle of the park. As his contract is set to expire next month, the 25-year-old star might give it another go in European football if Celtic rope him in before the window is slammed shut.

The signing of Furuhashi has raised the bar high for Japanese footballers and it is to be seen now if the trio lives up to the expectation if the deals take place in winter.

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