J-League vice-president believes Celtic have boosted reputation of Japanese football

By David Walton

August 17, 2021

The vice-president of the J-League, Hiromi Hara, has hailed Celtic as he claimed their summer moves have helped boost the reputation of Japanese football.

The Hoops plunged into the Land of the Rising Sun on two occasions this summer to make some key hires. The first of course being manager Ange Postecoglou, who’s reputation was sky-high in Japan after a J-League title win in 2019.

Celtic would then return to Japan to land Vissel Kobe star Kyogo Furuhashi. Both men are already adored by the Parkhead faithful. Postecoglou is already putting his own unique stamp on the playing squad, whilst Furuhashi has netted five times for the club in four games.

Yet despite the fact both have had a major impact on the club, it appears Celtic’s moves may have had a positive affect on Japanese football.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Hara said: “It’s difficult to say if we can ever develop the J-League to challenge the Premier League or La Liga mostly due to the geographical situation. But thanks to Andres Iniesta for example, the level of interest is higher than ever before.

“If you look at a club like Celtic, they looked at Japan to recruit Ange Postecoglou to become their new manager and signed one of our very best players, Kyogo Furuhashi.

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“So you have a major club like that who have signed a manager and a key player. That clearly increases the status of the J-League.”

Celtic could do with continuing to pluck the talent-brimmed J-League

Celtic fans have long since wondered why the club haven’t been scouring the J-League in the past.

After all, there have been plenty of success stories come out of the country. Whether it be to Austrian, German, or Spanish football, there have been plenty of Japanese talent we’ve missed out on for whatever reason.

Even now, after sampling Furuhashi, there are other options that Celtic should be considering. The likes of Teruhito Nakagawa, for example, is a player that thrived under Postecoglou with Yokohama F.Marimos in recent years. The Japanese winger has been tearing it up in the J-League for the last two years down the right flank.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

You also have the J-League MVP for 2020, Michael Olunga, who struck 15 goals in 19 games last season. Not to mention nine in six AFC Champions League games [Transfermarkt]. These are alternative talents Celtic should be looking at.

Furuhashi is just a taster of the quality that Japan holds. Given the success in the past of Shunsuke Nakamura and hopefully the future success of Furuhashi, you have to wonder whether Celtic will make Japan a more regular destination for signing targets.

They certainly haven’t put a foot wrong in their acquisitions from there this summer.

In other news, Mark Wotte boldly claims Celtic could beat AZ Alkmaar by three goals