FORGOTTEN Celt Yuki Kobayashi is poised to be one of the first players through the exit in this month’s transfer window.

The left-sided centre-back joined a year ago as a free agent after coming out of contract at Vissel Kobe, but looks to be heading back to Japan.

Kobayashi played a handful of first-team games for Ange Postecoglou, but dropped out of the reckoning after enduring a torrid afternoon at Ibrox when the Hoops lost in an encounter where only pride was at stake after the title had been won against Hearts at Tynecastle the previous week.

GET A GRIP…Yuki Kobayashi duels with Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland.

The defender was also overlooked by Postecoglou for his 20-man squad for the Scottish Cup Final triumph over Inverness Caley Thistle on June 3.

The 23-year-old back-four operator hasn’t figured in Brendan Rodgers’ plans since the Irishman’s return and the answer could be a return to his homeland with the J-League’s new season scheduled to kick off next month.

His former club have been monitoring his situation, but there could be interest from Yokohama F Marinos with former Hoops first-team coach Harry Kewell preparing to strengthen his squad for his debut campaign in charge.

Kobayashi’s fellow-countryman Yosuke Ideguchi is about to seal a £740,000 deal with Vissel Kobe after the 27-year-old midfielder spent last term on loan at Avispa Fukuoka.

Others will follow as Rodgers adopts a ruthless approach to the clear-out and the Parkhead gaffer admitted: “It’s the hardship of the job – it’s one of the tough moments that you have – but I always think you’re better being clear with the player and where he stands.

ENDGAME…Yosuke Ideguchi realises his Celtic career is coming to a halt.

“It’s a challenge because you know that sometimes a player will leave here and he won’t have similar conditions again at his next club.

“But you have to do it for the greater good of the team, the club and for the player himself. It’s a side of the job that is a challenge, especially when players are so honest and they are on the way up.

“But the reality is, as a manager, that’s what you get paid to do.”

Rodgers, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “I have regular dialogue with players, but still we obviously have to wait and see as well because some players may want to go out.

“But if we don’t get the players in that we need, then I have to ensure the squad is as strong as it possibly can be for the second part of the season.”

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