REO HATATE has knocked back a contract extension at Celtic.
The rejection from the Japanese midfielder has sparked speculation he will be quitting the champions before the end of his current deal which runs until June 2026.
The Hoops hierarchy made similar offers to Hatate’s countrymen Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda last month with both international stars agreeing new and enhanced four-year terms.
The Parkhead chiefs opened talks with the 25-year-old playmake’s representatives, but the discussions concluded without an agreement between both parties, according to The Scottish Sun.
PARADISE…Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda celebrate after the midfielder’s double salvo in the 3-0 derby triumph at Parkhead on February 2 2022.
Hatate became an instant fans’ favourite 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.
However, Brendan Rodgers left the all-action performer on the substitutes’ bench for the opening-day 4-2 win over Ross County with David Turnbull getting the nod to play alongside skipper Callum McGregor.
THE CUP THAT CHEERS…Reo Hatate holds aloft the newly-won silverware after the 3-1 Scottish Cup Final win over Inverness Caley Thistle at Hampden on June 3.
Hatate replaced the two-goal Scotland international in the 67th minute and was back among the stand-by squad for the match against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
He was introduced once again for Turnbull at the start of the second-half, but, unfortunately, was forced off with a calf injury after only 25 minutes.
The middle-of-the-park performer missed the Viaplay League Cup exit at Kilmarnock at the weekend and is out of Saturday’s home league game against St Johnstone.
Hatate is also rated extremely doubtful for the derby confrontation at Ibrox eight days later.