3 reasons Celtic supporters should be excited by the Kyogo Furuhashi signing

By John McGinley

July 16, 2021

For many supporters, the Celtic signing of Kyogo Furuhashi was a moment to sit up and take notice of what the Bhoys are up to this summer.

Transfer malaise has been a definite thing over the last month or so, despite the arrival of Osaze Urhoghide. Even the Liel Abada signing, while welcome, didn’t scream Ange Postecoglou.

But, Celtic spending the guts of £5m on an exciting attacker from the J1-League, presumably at the direct request of Postecoglou gives us reason to be cheerful.

Why so buoyant, you ask? Here are three reasons why…

First and foremost, he just looks like a quality player

Furuhashi’s numbers, recent form, playing style and general profile all say to me this guy has something about him.

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If you take this season alone, he’s banged in 15 goals in 21 appearances for Vissel Kobe – one of the top teams in Japan. Given he plays predominately on the left-wing, it’s hard not to think of him as a Scott Sinclair-esque ace in the hole. Someone who can drift into the box and tuck the ball away as efficiently as an out-and-out striker.

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Taking a look at deeper metrics courtesy of the brilliant Cynic Analysis [Subscribe!], you get more of a sense of his overall game contributions.

Not only is his attacking output high and dribbling above average, but he clearly fits well into Postecoglou’s philosophy of pressing the opposition from the front. Tackling and possession wins in the attacking half are both well above average for his role.

Further to all this, he seems to be improving all the time towards an eventual peak. At 26 he has now broken into the Japan national team, for whom he hasn’t disappointed. He already has three goals and two assists in World Cup qualification.

We’re getting a player on the cusp of bigger and better things as an individual.

Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

The Furuhashi signing says a lot about Celtic intent this summer

Let’s face it, we’ve all been anxious at various points this summer, despite the Postecoglou appointment. I’m all in on our new boss. However, his success and failure will also depend on the backing of the Celtic board.

This signing is firm proof that if Ange wants something at the club and we are in a financial position to provide it, we will.

I sincerely doubt Furuhashi would be at Celtic right now without the boss in place. Although we’ve enjoyed Japanese greatness before, it’s not a market the Bhoys have pursued much, especially in recent years.

Supporters really needed a signing from the club that said, “Doubters, here’s something to swallow.” It delivers that on day one, before we even see the new attacker in action.

Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

He’s already been compared to legends and learned from the best but wants to leave his own legacy

Most people when they think of Japan and Celtic will think of one man, Shunsuke Nakamura. One of my favourites ever to wear the Hoops, Nakamura was simply sensational during his time in Scotland.

Comparisons are going to be obvious with Furuhashi in the door, but it’s not the first time he’s been compared to the Japanese legend.

In his own words, he said of the comparisons, as quoted by The Scottish Sun: “As a child, my hero was Ronaldinho and swimmers like Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps, but that all changed once I started playing with David Villa and Andres Iniesta.

“I have been compared with a few players like Shunsuke Nakamura, Hidetoshi Nakata and Keisuke Honda. All three were great players and are legends in Japan. But I want to carve my own name in the history books. I don’t want to be the new anyone.

“I consider myself fast, explosive and I can play in any forward position. But most of all I absolutely hate losing.

Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

“Much of my education came from playing with Iniesta and Villa. When it was announced they were coming, I thought to myself, ‘am I really going to be playing with these legends I watched on TV?’ They are spectacular players and have been an absolute treasure for my football development.”

That confidence and determination to step out of others shadows and be his own man bodes well. That’s the kind of attitude we need at Celtic Park. It’s all well and good having talent, but if you don’t have that die hard winning mentality, you simply don’t succeed in Glasgow.

This, as much as anything, is reason to be optimistic about Furuhashi’s arrival.

In other news, Ewan Henderson out to impress at Celtic in final year of contract.