2x title-winner, highly-rated Spurs talent; 3 top Celtic transfer targets in 2022

By David Walton

December 25, 2021

It’s that time of year again, and as a Celtic fan you could be forgiven for looking forward to the transfer window just as much as you were for today’s festivities.

No wonder either. The Hoops have been linked with a host of players and Ange Postecoglou has already made it clear he expects additions next month. The rebuild at Celtic is nowhere near complete even if a sizable chunk was completed over the summer.

Indeed, the Hoops brought in as many as 14 players to the club in the summer window. Around 10 of them have made a serious impact in the first-team already.

But there’s more work to be done, and here we take a look at to the top 3 targets Celtic have on their radar heading into 2022:

1. Daizen Maeda – Yokohama Marinos

Well this might be the most obvious one yet. After signing Kyogo Furuhashi in the summer, Maeda was always going to be the most obvious choice to bring in from the J-League afterward.

Maeda has just come off a stunning campaign with Yokohama Marinos in which he’s netted as many as 23 goals [Transfermarkt]. Unsurprisingly, he ended the season as the J-League’s top scorer in a real breakthrough year for the player.

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Maeda offers an extremely exciting combination of speed and power going forward. His attributes look as though they would be absolutely perfect for integrating into the Scottish Premiership. Not to mention he’ll be extremely familiar with Kyogo ahead of any potential partnership.

The Yokohama star has been capped by Japan from U-21 level up to the first team including at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. He looks ready for the step up, and will reportedly cost Celtic as much as £3m to sign [Daily Record].

The Hoops have already tapped into the J-League and Ange knows it well. Considering how profitable it’s been for us so far, don’t be surprised if Maeda is a Celtic player before February 1st.

2. Dilan Markanday – Tottenham Hotspur

Celtic are one of several clubs being linked with exciting Tottenham Hotspur winger Dilan Markanday. Indeed, the likes of Rangers and a host of English Championship clubs are also seemingly interested in the Englishman [Evening Standard].

Markanday is out of contract in the summer and a young talent Spurs fans definitely don’t want to lose. A flair player with terrific close control of the ball, Markanday has already made his debut for the EPL heavyweights.

Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images

Granted, all of his opportunities came under former boss Nuno Espirito Santo. Antonio Conte has yet to include him in a matchday squad, but the Standard still believes he’s rated highly. The Spurs fans’ reaction to him suggests that’s the case too.

Markanday has been in electric form for the under-23s this season too. He’s already into double-digits when it comes to his goal return [Transfermarkt]. He plays in a style similar to that of former Celtic winger Patrick Roberts, and can also play on either flank as well as up top.

He provides great versatility and clearly has an eye for goal. The step-up from youth team football to Celtic first-team will be steep. But Markanday has incredible potential and is the kind of player supporters would immediately take to. One to watch for sure.

3. Reo Hatate – Kawasaki Frontale

Everything about this potential deal suggests it’s all but set to be finalised come January, and it will sort out a key position if we pull it off.

Reo Hatate has just won his second league title with Kawasaki Frontale after coming off yet another huge campaign. Playing over 75 times for Kawasaki in the J-League over the last couple of years, Hatate comes with plenty of experience. Not to mention that he’s been capped at all Japanese age groups with the exception of the A squad.

Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

The Daily Record believe the player has decided he wants to join Celtic and that the Hoops are pushing to get a deal done before the January 2nd derby vs Rangers. We’ll see if that turns out to be the case, but Hatate comes with plenty of versatility too.

He’s often been deployed as a central-midfielder for Kawasaki this season. But he’s also regularly featured at left-back, the position Postecoglou reportedly views him as operating in at Celtic [Daily Record].

Celtic have long since needed a first-choice left-back with the signing of Liam Scales not yet doing the trick. Hatate filling that void will allow Josip Juranovic to play in his more suited right-back spot. This looks all but done, and don’t be surprised if it’s the first signing Celtic announce in the new year.