Last night showed exactly the kind of player Celtic need to bring to club in January

By Euan Davidson

December 23, 2021

With Celtic being linked to a raft of players in the January transfer window, it feels as though we’re crawling towards 2022. As if time has slowed down purposefully to stop us from freshening up our squad.

While we were far from being the most depleted side in Paisley last night, there were very obvious problems. The lack of penetration from set-pieces, few options on the bench, a general malaise and tiredness, after a huge Cup win on Sunday.

But last night proved one thing in particular of Celtic and the January transfer window. It’s that we need another player with speed, ingenuity and the ability to make things happen out of nothing. Step forward, then, Daizen Maeda.

Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

The key areas where Celtic struggled last night? Creating proper chances and taking the few that came our way. Of the “big chances” Maeda had (33), he scored with 18 of them [Keep Up]. Last night, Celtic had 30 shots, and scored not one.

Maeda, though, has stylistic similarities to Kyogo Furuhashi, a player we absolutely missed last night. For one thing, his well-documented pace. In what was often a slow and turgid affair last night, St Mirren could’ve been undone by some raw athleticism. Sadly, it didn’t come.

That and a tendency for the unexpected. Maeda’s ability to – like Kyogo – appear as if out of nowhere has been immensely valuable to Yokohama F Marinos. That, and the cutting edge he’s shown all season, wrapping up joint top scorer honours in the J League [Japan Times].

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Magic of Daizen Maeda would surely prove a massive boost to Celtic in January transfer window

It’s a transfer we need to do. Frankly, there aren’t many players around like Daizen Maeda, certainly none that are affordable for Celtic.

There have been a few problem areas, of course; we’ve lacked a creative midfielder when Rogic or Turnbull have been out. The left-wing, where Maeda can also play, has been mediocre without Jota in the side.

There’ll need to be some real investment, otherwise we risk going backwards. But there’s still plenty of room for Celtic transfer optimism. It starts, though, with bringing Daizen Maeda to Celtic.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Back in October, The Times stated that Celtic were “confident” about getting a deal done. It doesn’t seem as if anything has changed since then, barring rival interest in Maeda. Given that Postecoglou is his former manager, it should be straight-forward enough.

His spark, his invention and his raw athletic skill were something that could’ve won Celtic 3 points last night. When Kyogo’s out, we don’t really have anyone else like him. Maeda, in some ways, seemed the more obvious transfer Celtic could’ve done when Postecoglou took over. We got Kyogo, thank goodness, but to win titles, this Celtic team will need more.

In short, snaring Celtic transfer target Daizen Maeda could be vital. We’ve seen Kyogo win games practically on his own for us, and his absence showed. Even with him in the team, that extra creativity, finishing and ability to terrify defenders would be a significant boost.

He needs to be the first name Celtic announce in January.

Read more: Ange’s former assistant heralds “World leader” Celtic boss after reviving fortunes in Japan