"Right up with the best"; Former Ange assistant raves about Celtic signing

By Euan Davidson

January 4, 2022

Another former assistant to Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has spoken about the Bhoys, and this time it’s Arthur Papas on Daizen Maeda.

Papas was at Yokohama F Marinos with Ange when the diminutive speed merchant signed for the 2019 J League winners. A favourite of Ange’s, it seemed more likely that it’d be Maeda joining Celtic in the summer than Kyogo Furuhashi, if Postecoglou was to exploit his Japan contacts right away.

Instead, Postecoglou waited six months to pull the trigger on Maeda. But Papas believes the former Matsumoto Yamaga striker is like nobody else he’s ever watched play the game.

Photo by Simon Holmes/Getty Images

Maeda’s incredible athleticism broke all sorts of records in the J League. And Papas thinks Celtic have done some fantastic business in bringing Maeda to the club.

Papas is now the manager of Newcastle Jets in the A League, following a path set by Ange Postecoglou, who won titles with Brisbane Roar. And he was emphatic that Maeda’s pace and acceleration will bring enormous benefit to the Bhoys.

Papas said [Keep Up]: “It’s like nothing I’ve seen.

“Daizen possesses athletic qualities far superior to most players at the professional level.

“His ability to repeatedly produce max speed efforts consistently would place him at the very echelon of the game right up with the best athletes in world football.”

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Maeda to Celtic is exciting, no matter how you look at it

No transfer is ever a sure thing. Players take time to adapt to new leagues, new cultures, new managers and new teammates. We shouldn’t place any undue pressure on the electric Daizen Maeda.

However, you can’t help but get excited when you see what he’s capable of. The guy is an unbelievable athlete. His rapid pace is matched by ability to win the ball quickly, an excellent range of finishing, and a work ethic that suits Celtic down to the ground.

Again, for J League observers probably would’ve had Maeda top of their list when Ange came to Celtic. He was an Ange Postecoglou signing already, and we needed strikers. If it could get done, it’d be a no-brainer.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Of course, Kyogo Furuhashi was signed instead, and what an impact he’s made.

But the two of them together? It’s beyond exciting. A lot is made of Scottish defences, and what fast players could do against them. For what it’s worth, I don’t personally agree that in the fast-paced Scottish game, our top flight defences are particularly lacking for pace.

Still, though. Maeda looks like a handful by anyone’s standards.

If that “anyone” includes Ange’s former assistant Artur Papas, then it’s informed excitement.

Read more: Celtic have finally learnt an important transfer lesson