Why Celtic supporters should be so optimistic about Thursday transfer report

By Euan Davidson

December 9, 2021

Let’s not pretend that, en masse, we as Celtic supporters are that familiar with the game of Yosuke Ideguchi.

For sure, there’ll be Japanese Celtic supporters who are. Or, J League enthusiasts of a Celtic persuasion that are getting excited about this signing. However, despite a brief time at Leeds United, and because of the limited accessibility to Japanese football on these shores, let’s be fair; he’s something of an unknown quantity to us.

That’s actually quite exciting, though. In the age of analytics and constant scout reports (both of which are good things), hearing a player’s name for likely the first time can something of a rarity in modern football. But what does Yosuku Ideguchi do well, and what can he bring to Celtic?

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

First things first; Ideguchi is a central midfielder, who’s 25 years old. That means he’ll provide competition across different parts of the Celtic midfield. He can compliment or cover for Callum McGregor, a more traditional number 8 for the Hoops. Or, if McGregor is shunted back, as Postecoglou prefers, Ideguchi can play alongside one of Tom Rogic or David Turnbull.

So, what are his qualities? What jumps out first, from watching clips of Ideguchi, is that he can score absolute belters. It’s not necessarily his most consistent attribute, but look at this absolute thunderbolt for Japan against an Australia side with a familiar manager [AFC Hub].

On a more day-to-day basis, Ideguchi is a tidy, accomplished midfielder. An astute passer of the ball, he’s confident shuttling back and forth. What’s particularly impressive is his tackling; in all of his appearances for Gamba Osaka in 2021, he made 36 interceptions and 35 tackles [FBRef]. That’s good enough for well over one per 90.

Andrés Iniesta poses with another Celtic target, as ridiculous Hearts whining continues

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Andrés Iniesta poses with another Celtic target, as ridiculous Hearts whining continues
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Yosuke Ideguchi looks like a great option for Celtic and Ange Postecoglou

Let’s take a game from the J League to get an impression of the kind of player Ideguchi is. For example, his performance against Sagan Tosu.

In that game, his distribution was well-balanced between Osaka’s half and Sagan Tosu’s. He made one key pass, patrolled the midfield and was generally accurate with some exploratory passes into the opposition third. But while doing all this, he made a staggering 10 ball recoveries [Fotmob].

Why does that matter? Because it’s exactly what Ange Postecoglou is looking for. Ideguchi is brilliantly-equipped for Postecoglou’s high press. What Celtic have often failed to do, particularly in Europe, is win the ball back in the middle of the pitch.

Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

That’s exactly what Ideguchi does. Then, he has the wherewithal and ability to spread progressive passes into the opposition third.

It’s something Callum McGregor is good at, but Turnbull and Rogic? Not so much. Signing Ideguchi would mean that Postecoglou can more easily adapt to games where we’re at risk of being overrun in midfield.

Is it the sexiest stuff? Probably not. But this is a signing to be optimistic about. It opens up a great deal for the Celtic boss, as well as giving a hungry player a platform beyond what he’s used to.

This is a potentially smart signing, and one fans should be getting behind.

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