Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Celtic Attacker Emerged As A Transfer Target For Southampton: What Should The Hoops Do?

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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.

If a report from Sky Sports is believed to be true, Celtic attacker Daizen Maeda has emerged as a winter target for Southampton. The Saints are currently rock-bottom in the Premier League table, and therefore, are desperately searching for a solution to escape the relegation scare under new boss Nathan Jones.

The south coast side have already roped in Mislav Orsic from Dinamo Zagreb after an excellent World Cup campaign for Croatia. They also had a bid of £15m rejected for Lorient striker Terem Moffi who is valued at around £25m. However, Maeda could prove to be a cheaper yet more effective alternative given his red-hot form in the Hoops colours.

Ange Postecoglou put his contacts in Japan to use since accepting the Parkhead role. The Samurai Blue international developed his game under the Aussie boss when the latter was in charge of Yokohama F. Marinos and he eventually joined the Glasgow giants a year ago (initially on loan) after completing the 2021 J1 League season as the highest scorer, albeit jointly with Kawasaki Frontale’s Leandro Damiao.

Maeda made an instant impact at Celtic with his work rate and flexibility across the frontline. He has not been as prolific as fellow compatriot Kyogo Furuhashi in front of goal, but his pace and precision, among many other traits, have earned him a key status in the Bhoys’ attack.

Daizen Maeda

While he was tied down on permanent terms for a minuscule €1.53m transfer fee, his potential transfer to Southampton would see the Celts making a significant monetary profit. These two sides have done many successful trades in the past, particularly Fraser Forster, Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama and Stuart Armstrong who all flourished at Saint Mary’s after leaving the Scottish giants.

What Should Celtic Do?

The Hoops, on the other hand, are heading towards back-to-back Premiership triumphs. They are well-equipped high up the pitch but, at the same time, might lose Giorgos Giakoumakis who opted not to extend his Celtic contract. Cho Gue-sung has been identified as one of their major January targets after shining for South Korea in the FIFA World Cup and the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors ‘number 9′ could become the like-for-like replacement for the wantaway Greek centre-forward.

With Filipe Jota, Sead Haksabanovic, Liel Abada and James Forrest are challenging each other down the wide, Celtic should accept the Saints’ offer for Maeda and invest a portion of the profit on another value-for-money signing. Nevertheless, they must play hardball to ensure a financial gain following the forward’s impressive World Cup stint.

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