Minutes before the stock of Japanese football rose to unparalleled levels, Celtic confirmed the signature of their fifth player from the country (subject to clearance). Left sided central defender, Yuki Kobayashi (22) will join when the transfer window opens in January.
Yuki was first choice for Vissel Kobe in the season just ended and spend 18 months in the topflight when Ange Postecoglou was in Japan (a year of which they were city rivals), so he is a player Ange will have personal experience of.
Celtic fast becoming the easiest place for Japanese players to settle west of the Sea of Japan, so the normal caveats of a young player moving from a different continent, not even sharing an alphabet, should be tempered. Still, he is at least two years younger than any of our other Japanese’ were when they arrived in Glasgow. We all need time to settle.
He becomes the youngest of a young central defensive pool. Stephen Welsh is six months older, Moritz Jenz is 23, Cameron Carter-Vickers is 24 (for another month), leaving 27-year-old Carl Starfelt in what would be considered prime for a central def. He is also the only leftie, a clear advantage.
My one concern from his stats is his height: 6’ 1”, the smallest of a relatively small CD population. Let’s hope he can leap like a Newco commercial contract (unerringly from file to Court of Session). A decade ago we went into the Champions League as the tallest side in the competition – and qualified for the knockout stage. Am I alone in being concerned or has football moved in a direction I’ve missed?
It is highly unlikely Yuki will see into too much strenuous action before the title is secured this season. Ange often tells us how new arrivals need many months before we see the best of them. The challenge will be to find his way into the starting line-up as next season kicks off.
Delighted for Daizen Maeda and his Japanese teammates back in Glasgow on their historic national team win over Germany yesterday. They might want to chill their jets before facing Spain, we don’t want too many scouts looking east.
Another day, another day in court for Newco. Elite Sports went to the Court of Session to force Newco to disclose sales figures achieved by Castore since 2020 in a £9.5m action against the club for failure to perform a retail deal signed in 2018. Elite, themselves, failed to perform their retail activities for Southampton, who ceased thier partnership on Monday. Perhaps as a consequence, Elite were unable to meet their obligations and went into administration yesterday. That £9.5m will be eyed by administrators seeking compensation for creditors (and their own fees, of course). An Elite director secured a floating charge over the company assets in September.
Dave King was the man in charge when the Elite contract was signed. Douglas Park must wonder what the world would be like if his “She’s a lovely runner, Sir” charm could be extrapolated across thousands of football fans. £9.5m on top of the £8m recently noted for Sports Direct, jeez! I think we should shamelessly join the campaign to get Dave King back in charge.