ANGE POSTECOGLOU’S outstanding knowledge of worldwide football is keeping Celtic ahead in the transfer market.

The Hoops boss is already working in his fourth market since taking charge at Parkhead in June last year as he revamped a playing squad that faltered so miserably during a wretched campaign when the historic bid for a tenth successive title was blown shortly after the turn of the year.

The team limped in a ridiculous 25 points off the pace while completing their first barren season in 11 years.

Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie were immediately moved on during a summer of upheaval while the likes of Kyogo Furuhashi, Liel Abada and Josip Juranovic were introduced.

NET PROFIT…Kyogo Furuhashi arrived in a £4.6million switch from J-League outfit Vissel Kobe in July 2021.

Postecoglou has proved to be relentless in his ambitious and aggressive quest to bring in the best for the champions.

He has made over TWENTY recruitments in 18 months with Yuki Kobayashi the latest capture after the Japanese centre-back agreed a five-year deal.

Canada right-back Alistair Johnston, an impressive performer in his country’s unfortunate 1-0 loss to Belgium on Wednesday, is on the radar as another possible acquisition when the January sales kick off in 36 days’ time.

Former Celtic goal hero Chris Sutton has every faith in the 57-year-old Greek-Australian getting it right as he continues to wheel and deal in an extremely competitive market place.

The one-time England international striker said: “Yuki Kobayashi was announced as a new signing by Celtic as I sat inside the Khalifa International Stadium to watch Japan beat Germany.

“The timing, you have to say, was pretty uncanny. Ange Postecoglou’s eye for the J-League has reaped a reward already and that has been obvious to all.

BARGAIN BHOYS…Liel Abada and Matt O’Riley have shone since being brought to Celtic.

“Football is a global game and those who are either unaware or unwilling to scratch below the surface and dig into markets which are often untapped are missing out.

“It’s getting harder with modern technology and extensive scouting networks to keep anything a secret and managing to source value that no-one else has spotted is difficult.

“But having that knowledge and eye for a region or a type of player and the bravery to trust it is invaluable and Postecoglou’s nous in the Asian market has been crucial to his success in the job.”

Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “It’s not a secret. As was seen during the Japan victory over the Germans, many of those lads in that side already ply their trade in the Bundesliga and across Europe.

“Strangely, there’s been a reluctance, in general, for British clubs to go down that Asian route. Certainly not before an individual has proved himself somewhere else first.

“Postecoglou has used that attitude to his advantage and Celtic have managed to get gems such as Reo Hatate, who was signed for relative buttons and will go for big money in the future. You have to be ahead of the game. Get ahead of the curve. That’s always been the case, but it feels now more than ever.

“By offering the likes of Hatate and now Kobayashi the opportunity and platform to play on big stages in Europe in the Champions League, it’s going to open doors for more.

LAND OF THE RISING REPUTATIONS…Japananese midfielder Reo Hatate celebrates a derby triumph along with Croatian defender Josip Juranovic.

“Put it this way, how much easier must it have been for Kobayashi to choose Celtic having seen his old team-mate Kyogo Furuhashi make the same move from Vissel Kobe 16 months earlier and enjoy such success?

“The ones who were playing for Japan, Daizen Maeda apart, of course, are in the public conscience. It’s too late. As soon as they deliver on the big stage, nine times out of 10, the value has gone. You have to be there first.

“As soon as a player or a country shows themselves at the World Cup, the prices sky rocket. This can also work in your favour. Should Croatia go deep into this tournament and Josip Juranovic has big performances, you can put another few quid onto his valuation.

With Canada’s Alistair Johnston a name to emerge in the past days as being of interest, it’s clear Celtic, as all sensible clubs should do, are succession planning for such eventualities.”

Sutton added: “Postecoglou says he is looking at every corner of the club and you can see that with the recruitment of Alexandro Bernabei from Argentina. There are other markets out there to get into.

“For example, I looked at the Ecuador squad during their encounter with Qatar and thought there were good players there.

ROARING SUCCESS…Celtic target Alistair Johnston is a big noise as he celebrates a goal.

“Brighton have been upwardly mobile on that score. Two of the players, Pervis Estupinan and Moises Caicedo, ply their trade on England’s south coast. Some of the other individuals are in Belgium and France and doing well.

“There are surely players just on the fringes of that Ecuador squad, such as Hatate is for Japan, who have talent, youth and ability who are available for peanuts. It’s just finding the right ones.

“There is no doubt in my mind they are out there if you look hard enough, as Postecoglou has shown with his adept knowledge of the Japanese market. Sure, the super-rich clubs don’t have to do it. They can wait until a guy is proven and then splash out.

“But the likes of Celtic are the ones who have to find them first.

“The manager has said it himself. Recruitment, as much as tactics and style, makes a manager. Get that right and you are over halfway there.

“Central America, Asia, Africa. Players have shown an ability to adapt no matter where they go on the planet these days, so being sharp and active in the market in corners where you are amongst the few who are actually looking is key.”

Click Here for Comments >

About Author