CELTIC are undoubtedly a massive club, and they are up there with the elites of Europe. However, their position in a relatively uncompetitive league and regular shortcomings in Europe mean their stars regularly move on each summer.
In the past few years, Celtic have seen Kieran Tierney and Odsonne Edouard leave for the Premier League. Former leading frontman Moussa Dembele also left for Olympique Lyon in 2018. The club have become accustomed to dealing with significant departures in most summer windows.
Who could be the next Hoops players to be tempted away by one of Europe’s leading leagues and perhaps the promise of regular runs into the latter stages of continental competition?
Kyogo Furuhashi seemed to become a fan favourite ever since he stepped onto the turf at Celtic Park.
The Japanese forward has won back-to-back titles since joining the club and looks on course to add a third this year. talkSPORT BET has The Bhoys as 1/4 favourites to retain their crown; the site offers a range of free bets for a variety of competitions this season with Celtic still fighting on all four fronts.
The domestic treble should be a formality for The Hoops, but they will need a big turnaround in their European fortunes to progress. Celtic lost their opening two fixtures in their UEFA Champions League group, but Furuhashi was one of the few players who impressed despite the poor results.
Regardless of goals and assists, he is always vital to his team as he leads the press from the front and helps Celtic to get onto the front foot. In The Bhoys’ first home game of their European campaign, the Japanese striker scored the opening goal against Lazio and repeatedly forced the Italians’ backline into making errors.
Late lapses of concentration in defence for the home team meant that Furuhashi’s strike did not earn Celtic any points in the end.
Thumbs up for great teamwork and the best fans 🙏🏻💚
Thank you! pic.twitter.com/troVz5x6wF
— Kyogo Furuhashi 古橋 亨梧 (@Kyogo_Furuhashi) August 13, 2023
The team is simply not strong enough to compete toe-to-toe with Europe’s top sides. It is inevitable that impressive attacking displays will regularly be cancelled out by defensive mishaps. The Bhoys do not have the financial strength to aggressively invest in all areas of their squad.
The shrewd signings who become huge successes like Furuhashi are often supplemented by some players within the team who lack the quality to cope against the top players on the continent.
The 28-year-old’s prime days will not last forever and he could certainly be tempted by a move to one of Europe’s strongest leagues next summer.
Many prolific Celtic forwards of the past have left off the back of their impressive goal tallies proving insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Furuhashi scored 59 goals in his first 93 appearances for Celtic, yet his only European knockout experience was a brief run in the Europe Conference League in 2022.
His stunning attacking quality is certainly worthy of a solid defensive unit to back it up. If the fee is right, then Celtic could well part ways with a modern great at the end of the season.
Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic reign involved a significant influx of Japanese stars into the team. Hatate is yet another example of smart recruitment.
He signed a new five-year deal recently, but long-term contracts are often used simply to protect value in modern football.
Hatate is an excellent box-to-box midfielder who has become a fan favourite for The Hoops. He possesses an immense work ethic and is incredibly tenacious, which makes him an excellent ball-winner in the middle of the park.
The Japanese midfielder is also impressive on the ball and often ventures further forward when his team is winning. His rapid burst of pace means he is extremely effective at breaking opposition lines single-handedly.
It only took Reo Hatate 5 minutes to score in the Old Firm 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Y3cAkIPJqW
— GOAL (@goal) February 2, 2022
Hatate is one of the most unique profiles in the Celtic squad and recruitment teams around Europe will undoubtedly have their eye on the midfielder if the club shows any willingness to sell.
Celtic’s model is very much to buy cheap and sell for a significant profit. Hatate joined in January of 2022, but his value has certainly rocketed as Europe has become quickly aware of his prior unknown qualities.
He joined for £1.5 million and would likely earn Celtic at least 10 times that if he were to depart next summer. Hatate could be a top signing for a lower-half Premier League club, or perhaps a more competitive Bundesliga club, as he would be well-suited to the transitional football played in Germany.
These two Japanese stars are some of Celtic’s most valuable assets at present. They could be tempted away next summer, and the club could also find the potential fees attractive, as they could be used to rebuild the wider squad.
Many players have been adored by the fans at Celtic Park, but have ultimately had the ambition to pursue a new challenge and secure a larger wage packet.
Furuhashi and Hatate appear comfortable in Glasgow for now, but big European clubs could come calling next summer and Celtic’s transfer themes of the past could well present themselves again.