Teruhito Nakagawa is worth a punt for Celtic after thriving under Ange Postecoglou

By David Walton

June 9, 2021

The prospect of Teruhito Nakagawa at Celtic is something that would definitely excite given his stunning record under Ange Postecoglou.

Postecoglou looks set to become the new Celtic manager as he closes out his Yokohama F.Marinos career. Of course, one of the first questions asked when he arrives will be whether he’ll be bringing any of his Yokohama stars with him.

One of the advantages of bringing Postecoglou to the club is the prospect of exploring new markets. Celtic don’t regularly source from the likes of Japan, despite the fact plenty of quality players exist in the J-League.

And if the new man is to dip back into his former club this summer, the first name he could very well look at is Nakagawa.

The right-winger may only have two international appearances to his name, but don’t let that put you off. He’s an extremely pacey wide man who has come on leaps and bounds under Postecoglou.

This season alone, he’s bagged nine direct goal contributions in his 15 games for Yokohama [Transfermarkt]. That’s despite the fact a hamstring injury kept him out for a full month too. According to Optus Sports, the player Nakagama thanks the incoming Celtic manager for saving his career. Postecoglou managed to turn him from a J2 league struggler into the J-League’s 2019 MVP.

Teruhito Nakagama would be worth a shot for Celtic

That 2018/19 campaign in particular was stunning. After bagging 20 direct goal contributions in his first year under Postecoglou, he blew things up one season later. A whopping 15 goals and 13 assists were secured from the right-wing position [Transfermarkt]. It was an unbelievable season that led to direct involvement with Japan for the first time in his career at 27.

Nakagawa is an extremely positive-minded player. He uses his electric pace to get beyond full-backs and whip in early crosses into the penalty box. His assist tally shows how accurate he generally is also.

How frustrating has it been in recent years with regards to Celtic wingers who beat their men then allow them to get back into position? We’ve seen it time and time before. Nakagawa is a player that likes to get his deliveries in early. Who likes to trouble the defence when they’re trying to trackback. He knows how and when the best time is to catch out the opposition.

Teruhito Nakagawa in action (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

Celtic are in desperate need of competition for James Forrest. We haven’t had a proper competitor since the days of Patrick Roberts. When Forrest had that level of competition challenging him, it pushed him to greater heights. Nakagawa could come in and be that kind of player. He’s too good to sit on the sidelines and let Forrest boss the position, and you need that level of depth.

We’ve been far too reliant on Forrest in recent years. Nakagawa has the pace, delivery, and finishing ability to make his mark in Scottish football. At 28, he’s never tasted football in Europe. That would come with its own challenges, as could the prospect of a work permit. But he seems to have the attributes necessary to make a splash in Scotland.

Let’s see if Postecoglou feels the same.

In other news, there’s one thing Celtic fans want from the board this season.