Celtic Glasgow sets out to conquer Japan!


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Current leader of the Scottish championship with nine points ahead of Glasgow Rangers, Celtic Glasgow was able to snatch the draw in the last Old Firm thanks to a goal from the Japanese Kyogo Furuhashi in the last minutes. A player who symbolizes the recent good results of the Scottish formation in recent years, but also the turn taken by the sporting direction of the Bhoys. After a second-place finish in the 2020/2021 season, Celtic have reshaped themselves around experienced Australian technician Ange Postecoglou. Gradually putting his mark on the team, he was able to create a magical duo with the Portuguese Jota and therefore Kyogo Furuhashi (27), freshly arrived from Vissel Kobe. Disbursing €5.4m in the operation, Celtic Glasgow had no hesitation in buying a player who was coming out of a good season in the club of Andres Iniesta (16 goals in 22 appearances). The adaptation to the Ladbrokes Premiership was very easy with 20 goals and 5 offerings in 33 matches for his first season at the club and a title acquired at the end of the season.

A success of an excellent Japanese player who allowed Celtic Glasgow to remember Shunsuke Nakamura, author of a nice passage at the club between 2005 and 2009. A success which convinced the Bhoys to target part of their recruitment on the side of the country at the rising sun, especially since his coach Ange Postecoglou came out of a three-year experience on the side of Yokohama F. Marinos. Already targeting J-League players in the summer of 2021 despite the only arrival of Kyogo Furuhasi, Celtic Glasgow offered themselves a magnificent three-stripe blow last winter. Thus, Daizen Maeda (25, ex Yokohama F. Marinos), Reo Hatate (25, ex Kawasaki Frontale) and Yosuke Ideguchi (26, ex Gamba Osaka) arrived at Celtic Park. Enough to strengthen his attack with the first and his midfielder with the other two for less than 4 million euros in total. An affordable figure for Celtic Glasgow who knew how to delight his coach who knew these three elements perfectly.

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Scottish Premiership: Celtic snatch a draw against Rangers in the Old Firm!

A profitable strategy

Ange Postecoglou mentioned these three reinforcements a year ago: “I worked with him (Daizen Maeda editor’s note) in Japan in Yokohama. He’s a character who is really determined to want to be the best he can be. I was keen to bring him in during the summer transfer window, but it’s very difficult to bring Japanese players in mid-season… He was the one I thought we could wait until January to do it come […] He’s a player (Reo Hatate editor’s note) that I saw evolve while coaching in Japan. Kawasaki Frontale is a fantastic team, they have been an exceptional team for five years. They have significant talent within their team and Reo was definitely one of them. You could see that from the moment he entered their first team he had a lot of success, he plays in a club that demands success and wants to win every week… So I knew again that he had the right character and temperament […] Yosuke (Ideguchi editor’s note) is someone I followed because when I was leading the Australian national team, he was part of the Japanese national team. He was someone we scouted and he’s a really exciting young talent. Once again, a man that I am really happy to bring and with whom I am happy to work. Twelve months later, the results are positive.

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Like Brentford and its Danish arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk before the war in Ukraine and its Brazilians, Celtic is forming its small Japanese armada and it is taking shape. Reo Hatate is valuable in midfield and has established himself as an executive with 25 appearances this season for 4 goals and 5 offerings. Similar situation for Kyogo Furuhashi who confirms his first season and finds himself top scorer in the championship (16 goals and 1 offering in 25 matches in all competitions). Not considered a starter, Daizen Maeda remains a much used player with 26 appearances for 6 goals and 4 offerings which give him the status of luxury joker. It’s complicated on the other hand for Yosuke Ideguchi, victim of a knee injury, who had 6 appearances last year and has not played a single minute of the current exercise. A sports policy that pays off when you see the results of the Glasgow club and the individual successes of three out of four elements. The only small disappointment, Reo Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi were not part of the Japanese adventure during the 2022 World Cup (1/8th final) despite their good performances. Daizen Maeda participated in this tournament and also scored during the elimination against Croatia (1-1/3-1 at Tab).

Celtic continue to build in Japan

Wishing to establish a real link with Japan in order to refine this strategic recruitment sector, Celtic has also announced a partnership with Goal App Japan to organize training events via its academy for young girls and boys from 7 to 12. years on Japanese soil. “We’re really excited to partner with Goal App Japan and offer young Japanese football players the opportunity to experience what it’s like to play the Celtic way. We currently have five Japanese players playing for Celtic and we would like to use this partnership to inspire the next generation of players to support and potentially play for our fantastic football club.”, said Scottish club academy manager Chris Smith. A policy which therefore goes beyond the simple framework of transfers and which confirms the desire to attack a new land conducive to the development of football.

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Tomoki Iwata

This winter, Celtic Glasgow has again drawn to afford two Japanese players with Tomoki Iwata (25 years old, Yokohama F. Marinos) and Yuki Kobayashi (22 years old, Vissel Kobe). The first who has 4 caps with the Blue Samurai, but who missed the last World Cup, has just been voted the best player in the J-League and has been loaned with an obligation to buy. What to satisfy the coach Ange Postecoglou: “We are really delighted to bring Tomoki to Celtic. I’m sure he will be a player our fans will love. He is versatile and can play in defense or in midfield. He is a footballer with a large volume and with great qualities. He has just had a brilliant season.” Younger, Yuki Kobayashi was transferred directly and will certainly have a more secondary role at first. Two transfers which nevertheless confirm Celtic Glasgow’s desire to bet on a country which is currently experiencing a great leap forward in terms of its football.

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