BRENDAN RODGERS is poised to give the green light to a loan move for Yuki Kobayashi, as CQN forecast last month.
The Japanese centre-back has yet to make a competitive appearance since the Irishman took over from Spurs-bound Ange Postecoglou in June.
The Greek-Australian gaffer signed Kobayashi in January after the 23-year-old defender came out of contract at Vissel Kobe.
The left-sided back-four performer made just seven outings under Postecoglou and could have been on his way on a temporary shift in the summer, but any moves stalled when he sustained an injury in pre-season.
CAPITAL SHOW…Yuki Kobayashi clears from Hearts dangerman Lawrence Shankland during Celtic’s 2-0 win at Tynecastle in May when the club sealed their second successive title.
His former club are keen to take Kobayashi back, but other J-League sides are also eyeing a possible swoop, according to the Scottish Sun.
It looked as though a door was opening for the player when Carl Starfelt left for Celta Vigo in the summer, but with the double purchase of Maik Nawrocki, at £4.3million from Legia Warsaw, and Gustaf Lagerbielke, £3million from Elfsborg, plus the startling re-emergence of Liam Scales, the Japanese ace has dropped down the pecking order.
A fully-fit Cameron Carter-Vickers will always be a first pick while former Scotland Under-21 captain Stephen Welsh signed a contract extension before his injury setback earlier in the campaign.
Even if Nat Phillips returns to Liverpool when his short-term deal expires at the turn of the year, there still seems to be no place for Kobayashi.
The J.League window opens in six weeks’ time and could provide an escape route for the stylish defender whose terms run until June 2028.