Left-back Reo Hatate, striker Daizen Maeda and central midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi all of interest to Celtic; Scottish Premiership side also set to trigger Jota's option-to-buy clause before the end of the season.
Monday 6 December 2021 14:43, UK
Celtic are targetting moves for Japanese trio Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi.
Manager Ange Postecoglou has already tapped into the J-League market with success, bringing in striker Kyogo Furuhashi from Vissel Kobe in the summer.
With the Celtic boss keen for reinforcements, left-back Hatate is due to meet Kawasaki Frontale club chiefs this week to express his desire to join the Scottish Premiership club next month.
The 24-year-old is out of contract in February but is hoping to agree a move to Scotland in the transfer window.
Maeda, who worked under Postecoglou at Yokohoma F Marinos, could reunite with his former manager in Glasgow with the Parkhead side keen on the striker.
The Japanese international ended the season in style by scoring on the final day of the season to become the top scorer in the J League.
Meanwhile, Ideguchi is also thought to be on Postecoglou's January wishlist. The central midfielder is currently with Gamba Osaka in his native Japan, where he made 29 appearances last season.
The 25-year-old has previous experience of British football, after signing for Leeds United in 2017, though he never made an appearance in a competitive game.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports News understands that Celtic are expected to trigger Jota's option-to-buy clause before the end of the season.
The winger has impressed since moving from Portuguese club Benfica in the summer, scoring eight goals in all competitions so far.
A fee of £6.5m was agreed in the summer with Celtic eager to take advantage.
Postecoglou has confirmed he will be without the 22-year-old for "a few weeks" after he suffered a hamstring injury in their 1-0 win against Hearts.
One player set to leave Celtic in the January transfer window is goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas.
The Greece international has failed to impress since joining on a four-year deal in July 2020.
A number of Turkish clubs are believed to be interested in signing the Greece international who has not featured for Celtic since the signing of former England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Speaking on Sky Sports News, Dan Orlowitz from the Japan Times:
"A very interesting trio of players.
"You have Daizen Maeda who just collected the co golden boot award and was in the J League best 11.
"You have Reo Hatate who is a midfielder who can also defend and played a good bit of time at left-back this season, but was registered as a forward. He also made the the best 11.
"Yosuke Ideguch is more of a holding midfielder who is capable of scoring great goals on occasion.
"You have this potentially fascinating line from the holding midfield position to the goal if they all sign."
Speaking on Sky Sports News, former Celtic striker Darren Jackson said:
"If they are half as good as Kyogo then I think they'll be very happy. He's been a sensation since he arrived.
"The manager knows the market, he knows the players and he's very confident in bringing them in, but expectation levels from the fans will grow because of Kyogo.
"When you look at the bench it's not as strong as it should be. Trying to change things during a match has probably been quite difficult for the manager.
"Kyogo maybe does need a little rest but there's no way they can give him a rest, so it's very important they strengthen the squad in January."