Video: Celtic-bound striker Kyogo Furuhashi earned rave review from Andrés Iniesta days before move

By Euan Davidson

July 16, 2021

Overnight, Japanese club Vissel Kobe announced that Celtic had agreed a deal to sign Kyogo Furuhashi, subject to a medical [Vissel Kobe].

The J-League giants, who boast Andrés Iniesta in their ranks, said that the J League Outstanding Player Award-winner for 2019 and 2020 was due to undergo a medical locally, before making the move.

It comes just days after Iniesta praised Furuhashi, claiming he could adapt to playing in Europe.

Iniesta, a World Cup winner and twice European Championship winner with Spain, told Ibai Llanos this week [translation via Dan Orlowitz]:

“To be honest, he absolutely has the talent to play in Europe. He’s leading the J1’s scoring chart, but it’s not just that. He’s got strong technique, and I believe he can succeed in Europe.

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“I’m sure he’s got scouts watching him already, but it’s going to be tough for us because he scores a lot of goals! It’ll be tough but if he goes to Europe I’ll be incredibly happy for him, because for Japanese players it’s a dream to play in Europe.”

Andrés Iniesta: Furuhashi “absolutely has the talent”

If you’re a footballer of any repute, getting an endorsement from Andrés Iniesta is a wonderful thing.

The former Barcelona midfielder has won everything there is to win. Four Champions Leagues, 9 La Liga titles, 6 Copa Del Rey titles, 3 Fifa Club World Cups, 7 Spanish Super Cups… and that’s just at club level.

More than that, though: Iniesta was at the vanguard of one of the club sides in football history. He was the classy, determined engine room of the Barça side that reinvented the game in its own image under Pep Guardiola. So, when Iniesta talks about Furuhashi, we’re going to listen.

Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

And so, what about Furuhashi? Capped six times by Japan, the Vissel Kobe marksman has scored a trio of international goals. Adept at either cutting on from the the left-wing or playing as a centre-forward, the Japanese attacker struck 14 times in 20 J-League outings last term [Transfermarkt].

In fact, it’s probably easier to talk about his stats more generally at Vissel Kobe. Since joining the club in 2018, Furuhashi has 48 goals and set up a further 18. The guy is, to put it simply, a sensation at J-League level.

As either a centre-forward option, or a Elyounoussi replacement, Furuhashi is the business. According to Andrés Iniesta, anyway, and who are we to argue?

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