17-goal Maeda will surely be one of the players on Celtic's January Japan radar

By John McGinley

October 5, 2021

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has made no secret of the fact he is on the hunt for J-League talent when the January transfer window opens.

As recently as the weekend he told The Sunday Post: “Japan is one of the markets we will be looking at. Obviously, I know it really well, and they will get to the end of their season, which is a good time if there’s anyone who will fit into our set-up. But we will be looking everywhere.

“We have already identified targets, and begun discussions before we get to January. So that we can conclude deals a lot quicker than we did in the previous window.”

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

So, it begs the question – who could he be talking about? Well, there is one outstanding candidate both known well to Postecoglou and currently tearing up the J-League – Yokohama F. Marinos forward Daizen Maeda.

Maeda has taken Kyogo Furuhashi’s crown as top scorer so far this season in the Japanese top-flight with 17 league goals, from 29 appearances.

Postecoglou signed the attacker for the Japanese club last year and played him regularly from the bench. But this term the 2-cap international has progressed to a new level and will surely be attracting the attention of the Bhoys boss after his recent comments.

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Still just 23, Maeda plays predominately on the left wing but can also play through the middle. That’s not too much of a problem for Celtic despite the presence of Jota, who can ably fill in on the right flank as we witnessed against Real Betis.

Having multiple options in attack is crucial moving forward with Albian Ajeti struggling and James Forrest still struggling with injuries. We need another attacker regardless of who it is that arrives.

But Maeda ticks plenty of boxes – he’s showing similar prowess to Celtic favourite Kyogo right now, he knows the manager’s style of play and he’s young enough to be on an upward trajectory.

Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images

Given Celtic comfortably signed Kyogo – arguably the league’s best player at the time – there’s little doubt we could afford him too.

He’s definitely one to keep an eye on ahead of the transfer window.

In other news, Celtic Academy youngsters set for rare opportunity.