Scottish champions Celtic are seemingly already eyeing potential January moves, with manager Ange Postecoglou having admitted that the Hoops have completed much of their preparation for when the market re-opens.
The winter window proved particularly fruitful earlier this year as the Old Firm giants brought in MK Dons playmaker Matt O’Riley for just £1.5m, having also completed a triple J-League swoop with the additions of Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi.
That latter trio could well be joined by another Japanese colleague in the form of Vissel Kobe starlet, Yuki Kobayashi, with the emerging centre-back believed to be on his way to Parkhead in the New Year, according to the latest reports.
According to recent speculation in the player’s homeland, the 22-year-old’s move to Glasgow is now all but confirmed, with the Scottish Premiership side set to acquire the highly-rated prospect on a free transfer, with the defender’s existing deal set to expire in January.
To bring in the promising youngster on a free could well prove to be something of a coup as far as Postecoglou and co are concerned, with journalist Sacha Pisani having suggested it is “madness” that the Bhoys are set to land him for nothing.
While something of an unknown to most in Scotland, the belief is that the 6 foot 1 sensation could go on to impress in his new surroundings, with the aforementioned Pisani notably stating of his talents: “Yuki’s good in the air. Reads/anticipates game well. Comfortable on ball as left-footer & very good at blocking shots. A lot of upside.”
Who is this former Celtic player?
The former Japan U20 international – who has racked up 78 appearances for his current side to date at senior level – would offer a unique alternative for those at Celtic Park as a left-footed option at centre-back, offering a potentially more balanced fit to the club’s backline.
Kobayashi’s introduction at left centre-back could well see the Hyogo-born machine form a stellar partnership with full-back, Greg Taylor, with the Scotland international having been in fine form on the left of the defence so far this term.
The 25-year-old – who has provided four goal contributions this season – has been lauded for his displays by both fans, teammates and pundits alike, with ex-Hoops playmaker Kris Commons notably dubbing him the “most improved player in Scotland” amid his recent resurgence.
The diminutive ace was also praised for being “very, very consistent” by the aforementioned O’Riley earlier this season, while the ten-cap gem himself has admitted he has improved “insane amounts” since first arriving from Kilmarnock back in 2019.
With Taylor having seemingly nailed down the left-back berth – despite the signing of Alexandro Bernabei – the £8.2k-per-week menace could well be the man to help guide Kobayashi if he is to join the club in the winter window, helping to form what could be an ‘insane’ and impressive duo on the left side of the defensive unit.