REO HATATE could be about to end the guessing game by signing a new deal at Celtic.

The Japanese midfielder knocked back a contract extension at the champions nine days ago, as CQN reported.

However, there are indications the 25-year-old international may now join his countrymen Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda in penning new terms once the summer transfer window deadline passes at midnight.

Talks have been delayed, but Brendan Rodgers has admitted he is keen to keep the fans’ favourite who is under contract until June 2026.

AT THE READY…midfielder Reo Hatate prepares for the new season in Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Wolves at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in July.

The players’ representatives have also stated they will be willing to get round the table for further discussions.

Hatate became an instant hero after arriving from Kawasaki Frontale in January 2022 along with Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi in a triple swoop on the J-League.

He won the Man of the Match award in his debut as the Hoops beat Hibs 2-0 in Glasgow on January 17 and then fired in a spectacular first-half double in the 3-0 derby triumph over Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox side at Parkhead the following month.

That win put the team back to the top of the Premiership pinnacle for the first time in 18 months and they remained in pole position for the remainder of the campaign to seal their tenth title in 11 years.

Rodgers opted for David Turnbull in the opening Premiership match of the new season and the Scotland international repaid his faith with a double in the team’s 4-2 win over Ross County in Glasgow.

ON THE MOVE…Reo Hatate in action during the 3-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the James Forrest Testimonial Match at Parkhead last month.

Hatate came on as a second-half substitute and was also introduced to the action at the start of the second-half in the 3-1 victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie the following weekend.

Unfortunately, his involvement lasted a mere 25 minutes before he was forced off with a calf injury and he wasn’t included in the matchday squad for the scoreless stalemate with St Johnstone.

Unless there is a startling recovery, he will sit out the derby confrontation at Ibrox on Sunday.

Hatate was linked with Brighton last month, but transfer talk will now be put on ice until the turn of the year, by which time the all-action middle-of-the-park performer could have signed a new Hoops deal.

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