Scottish champions Celtic have already acted swiftly to wrap up their first piece of business ahead of the upcoming January transfer window, with the Old Firm outfit confirming on Wednesday that they have secured the signing of Vissel Kobe defender, Yuki Kobayashi.

That deal – which will be officially completed on New Year’s Day – will see the 22-year-old make the move to Glasgow on a five-year contract, with the centre-back set to join the growing contingent of Japanese players at Parkhead.

Manager Ange Postecoglou had previously hinted that new additions could well be in the offing in the winter window, with the 57-year-old showing his delight at having managed to get the move agreed, stating:

“Yuki is someone that we’ve been following for a while and it was a great opportunity to bring him in. He’s a left-sided centre-back, and they’re hard to find.

“He’s at a really good age where he’s already had some great experience but with great potential ahead of him.”

As the former Yokohama Marinos boss noted above, the new addition will likely provide greater balance to the club’s defensive unit as a rare, left-footed option in the centre of defence, helping to provide further competition at the heart of the backline.

While something of an unknown quantity to most outside his homeland, the hope will be that Kobayashi could well go on to emulate his compatriots – such as Reo Hatate and Kyogo Furuhahsi – and make an impact at Paradise in both the second half of this term and beyond.

The youthful asset has already been given glowing praise from journalist Sacha Pisani, who said of the 6 foot 1 gem’s talents: “Yuki’s good in the air. Reads/anticipates game well. Comfortable on ball as left-footer & very good at blocking shots.”

Despite that acquisition, Postecoglou could well strengthen his defence even further with the signing of long-term target Joseph Okumu, with the Gent colossus having been linked with a move to Celtic Park during the summer.

The 25-year-old had also previously been linked with the Hoops – as well as bitter rivals Rangers – the year prior during Postecolgou’s first window in charge, having seemingly been a player who the one-time Australia boss is fond of.

The 6 foot 4 colossus – who was previously tipped to achieve “something special” by Real Monarchs general manager Dan Egner during his time in the United States – could well prove to be a long-term partner to Kobayashi in the backline, offering a truly imposing presence as a result of his towering frame.

The Kenyan brute notably ranks in the top 1% for tackles made and the top 4% for interceptions made among those in his position, as per FBref, with that a marker of just what an effective and destructive figure he is in his centre-back berth.

Not only something of a rock, Okumu also seemingly offers quality in possession and a willingness to play out of the back as he ranks in the top 4% for attempted passes and the top 20% for progressive passes, with that forward-thinking approach likely to be well suited to Postecoglou’s attacking style of play.

With the backline still something of an issue as far as the Hoops are concerned – having shipped 15 goals in this season’s Champions League run – the deployment of a Kobayashi-Okumu axis could well prove to be special.


2022-11-24T07:38:26Z dg43tfdfdgfd