FORMER Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas reckons Ange Postecoglou’s reported swoop on Japan’s top talent will bring success to his old club.
The Greek-Australian gaffer, who quit Yokohama F Marinos to join the Hoops in June, raided his old stomping ground to sign striker Kyogo Furuhashi from Vissel Kobe for £4.6million in the summer.
The pacy international frontman has struck 14 goals in an impressive start to his career in Scotland – and his impact could see him being joined at Parkhead by three of his countrymen.
FOURTEEN GOALS AND COUNTING…Kyogo Furuhashi has hit the ground running with Celtic.
Forward Daizen Maeda, who was signed by Postecoglou for the Yokohama club in February, midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi, of Gamba Osaka, and Kawasaki Frontale’s versatile left-sided defender/midfielder Reo Hatate have been linked with moves to Glasgow in a daring three-player switch next month.
Ex-fans’ favourite Nicholas, who had two spells at the club, believes Postecoglou could strike gold with his ambitious signing plans as he continues to strengthen a squad that saw 12 players arrive in the summer.
The one-time Scotland international marksman said: “It is hardly a surprise Ange is looking at that market as he knows it well from his time there and also brought in Kyogo Furuhashi, who has made a massive impact already.
“Japanese are starting to make their mark on Europe – but there is still value in a relatively untapped market.
“Celtic had Shunsuke Nakamura during Gordon Strachan’s time. But he was slightly different as he had already established himself overseas in Italy’s Serie A with Reggina.
FANS’ FAVOURITE…Shunsuke Nakamura was a star in Gordon Strachan’s line-up.
“Nakamura was a star and gave Celtic a foothold in Japan. However, they failed to build on that deal and turned to other markets.
“You also know when Asian players come over they’re bang at it. They see themselves as ambassadors for their countries.”
Micholas, speaking in the Daily Express, added: “You see many Japanese players make their names with the lesser teams in Italy and Spain before kicking on at bigger clubs.
“There’s no questioning their work-rate and commitment. But it can be difficult adapting to that big club mentality. While they might not play well every week, they will grasp Ange’s style and what he expects.
“This trio won’t be expensive. If they do well, Celtic can sell them on at a profit. If they don’t dazzle, the chances are they’ll still make their money back when sold on.
“Ange clearly wants to play with a high energy and Japanese players are renowned for that intensity.
“But they must be better than the players Celtic already have, so it will be interesting to see how they adapt.”