Maeda, Hatate and Ideguchi: Japanese trio wanted by Celtic as Postecoglou looks to raid J1 League again

By Sports Desk December 16, 2021

If Kyogo Furuhashi is any indication, Celtic should be looking to Japan for more players, right?

Former Yokohama F.Marinos boss Ange Postecoglou used his J1 League insight to lure the previously unheralded Kyogo to Parkhead and what a signing it has proven to be – the Japan international has taken Glasgow by storm with 14 goals in all competitions.

Now, Celtic manager Postecoglou is reportedly preparing another raid on Japan's top flight, including his former club, to help bolster his title-chasing side in the January transfer window.

F.Marinos star and joint Golden Boot winner Daizen Maeda, Kawasaki Frontale utility Reo Hatate and Gamba Osaka's Yosuke Ideguchi are believed to be all closing in on moves to Celtic as the Bhoys' Japanese contingent grows.

With speculation mounting, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind the trio, using Opta data.

 

Daizen Maeda, Yokohama F.Marinos

Postecoglou leaned on his experiences as a rival coach to prise Kyogo from Andres Iniesta's Vissel Kobe at the start of the season, but it is a completely different matter regarding Maeda, who was signed by the Australian coach, initially on loan in 2020.

Following a difficult loan spell in Portugal via Maritimo, Postecoglou turned to Maeda after leading F.Marinos to their drought-ending J1 League title the season prior. The 24-year-old has not looked back, taking his game to a new level with the runners-up in 2021.

The two-time Japan international shared the Golden Boot with Frontale talisman Leandro Damiao after the pair both scored 23 goals, while he was named in the league's Best XI.

With pace to burn and the ability to play on the flank or through the middle, Maeda fits Postecoglou's high-octane brand of football and pressing philosophy to a tee – he tallied the most sprints across the league (1,457), well ahead of Consadole Sapporo's Tsuyoshi Ogashiwa (869).

Maeda, who likes to cut inside from the left, also led J1 League in shots on target (51), shooting accuracy (63 per cent), big chance total (33), big chance scored (18), expected goals (21.3) and touches in the opposition box (190). He was second for total shots (92) and shot conversion rate (23.9).

 

"I never imagined I would end the season as top scorer in the league. I feel I have been able to prove I was a good signing here," Maeda, who could provide another dynamic to Celtic's attack having scored a joint-league-high six headed goals, said at the end of the season. "As always it was great to score, but I would have liked to have ended the season with a win.

"I've had a great season although I am disappointed we never managed to win the title, but on a personal level, I am very proud I was able to finish as top scorer. I always want more goals. You can never score enough.

"I believe this team can go on and have a great season next year too. Whatever happens, Marinos are a great club. I've never hidden my ambition to play in Europe. When I tried before in Portugal, Covid ruined it for me. This season has changed everything for me. Goals and a call-up for my country. For me, it's just the start."

 

Reo Hatate, Kawasaki Frontale

If Celtic want a man that can cover a number of positions, Hatate is their guy.

A defender, midfielder or forward, Hatate is coming off his second successive top-flight crown with the league's dominant force Frontale, who have won the title in four of the last five years.

Hatate has played a key role in helping maintain Frontale's dominance since making his debut in 2018.

The versatile 24-year-old – who has not played abroad, unlike Maeda or Ideguchi – is fresh off a stellar season that saw him named in J1 League's Best XI.

Like 2020, Hatate scored five goals in 30 appearances, while he supplied two assists in the league as he often played in the middle of the pitch, though he can also be deployed at left-back.

Comfortable on the ball and secure in possession, Hatate boasted a passing accuracy of 82.1 per cent in 2021. As for his creativity, he created 33 chances, highlighting his vision. He ranked in the top five for shots on target (third, 22), total shots (fourth, 59) and passes in opposition half (five, 1,297) among all defenders and midfielders.

Covering plenty of ground, Hatate also demonstrated his defensively capabilities throughout the campaign with 45 interceptions and 159 duels won, with a 53.4 success rate.

 

 

Yosuke Ideguchi, Gamba Osaka

Of the three players targeted by Celtic, the 25-year-old is somewhat the most surprising.

Labelled "wonderful" previously by former Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa, Ideguchi endured a forgettable time in Europe – he joined then-Championship outfit Leeds United on a four-and-a-half-year contract in 2018 but never made an appearance for the club.

Ideguchi then bounced around on loan at Cultural Leonesa in Spain and Greuther Furth in Germany before returning to boyhood club Gamba Osaka, where he has excelled across two spells.

A player with a lot of potential upside, Ideguchi is more of a holding midfielder and is capable of finding the back of the net.

Ideguchi – part of the Gamba team that tasted domestic success via the J1 League (2014), Emperor's Cup (2014 and 2015), J.League Cup (2014) and Japanese Super Cup (2015) prior to his Leeds departure – is coming off a 29-game season, his most since the 2017 campaign.

While he did not score or register an assist, unlike the season prior when he scored four times and teed up three goals, Ideguchi's work rate and tenacity was invaluable for Gamba.

In 2021, the 15-time Japan international won 55.5 per cent of his tackles with 36 interceptions and 78 duels won. Since 2019, Ideguchi is a top-10 midfielder in tackles (fifth, 145), tackles won (fifth, 85) and interceptions (10th, 109).

 

Related items

  • Yorke hails 'remarkable job' by Emery at Villa Yorke hails 'remarkable job' by Emery at Villa

    Former Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke believes Unai Emery has done a "remarkable job" and hopes they can maintain the new level they have reached.

    Emery joined Villa in November 2022 when the club was in a relegation fight, and led them to a seventh-place finish, securing qualification to the Europa Conference League.

    In his first full season in charge, the Spaniard oversaw another impressive campaign as the Villans finished fourth in the Premier League, ensuring Champions League football for the first time since 1982-83.

    Villa also reached the semi-final of the Europa Conference League after seeing off Ajax and Lille in the knockout stages, but were knocked out by eventual champions, Olympiacos.

    On Monday, Villa confirmed that Emery had signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2029.

    Yorke, who spent nine years at Villa between 1989 and 1998, says the club have finally found the right balance.

    "They've got good backers, good owners, invest heavily in their team and that shows what they want, but they've got also you need a correct manager and I think Unai Emery has come into that category," Yorke told Stats Perform.

    "Villa is a tremendous football club. Emery has done a remarkable job to get Villa in the Champions League, a bit like Newcastle last season in many respects.

    "Now the expectation is can he now really show what kind of manager he is? Now the [board] and the chairman will back him, bringing new players, bringing players to enhance that team, and they are going to try and maintain that [status as a top club].

    "If he does that next year and qualifies for the Champions League again, plus probably win a cup, I think he then shows what really a true fantastic manager he is for Villa.

    "To achieve their goal this season, I think the chairman, the fans, everybody will be thrilled that Villa is in the Champions League next year."

    Despite their strong season, Yorke admits that Villa will need to think about adding to their squad to cope with the demands of playing in the Champions League.

    "You have got to say to the owners, listen I need another three, four, five players to come in because now you're playing with the big boys, you're going from Champions League to the Premier League to the Champions League with the big boys," he added.

    "You need a squad to be going into these games. The players will find it totally different because they're not used to that.

    "They have got get used to that very quickly, but you've got an experienced manager in that type of way of playing [in Europe as well as domestically]. It will be new for Villa.

    "It will be interesting to see how they handle that type of story going forward, how they handle the Champions League.

    "It takes a really unique manager to then get a team advancing out of that group, then into the latter stage from the round of 16.

    "[If Emery does that], now you're showing your true colours, but I think they've got to add maybe three or four new players to the squad that will help them to make sure that they can maintain [a challenge] on both fronts."

  • Bellamy named acting head coach at Burnley after Kompany departure Bellamy named acting head coach at Burnley after Kompany departure

    Craig Bellamy has been named as acting head coach at Burnley following Vincent Kompany’s shock move to Bayern Munich.

    The Belgian, who took over the Clarets in June 2022, could not keep Burnley in the Premier League, being relegated after a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham in their penultimate match of the season.

    It was confirmed on Wednesday that Kompany was replacing Thomas Tuchel as Bayern head coach on a three-year deal.

    Burnley have now announced that Bellamy will take on the role of acting head coach while they look for a permanent manager, with Mike Jackson as his assistant coach.

    The Welshman was rumoured to be joining Kompany in Bavaria but is in the running to become the new Burnley manager, with Frank Lampard and Scott Parker also reportedly linked to the job. 

  • Djokovic marches into French Open third round after dominant straight-sets win Djokovic marches into French Open third round after dominant straight-sets win

    Novak Djokovic eased through to the French Open third round following another straight-sets victory over Roberto Carballes Baena at Roland-Garros.

    The reigning champion, who is seeking a record-breaking 25th grand slam singles title, took just over two hours to wrap up a 6-4 6-1 6-2 win and set up a showdown with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti in round three.

    Not since the 2017 Australian Open has Djokovic failed to progress beyond the second round at a major.

    It looked like the Serb would be in for a tough battle as Carballes Baena broke in the opening game, though he did respond immediately before the first set appeared finely poised at 4-4 and deuce.

    Djokovic subsequently drew first blood, and it was very much one-way traffic thereon.

    Indeed, from 4-4 in that first set, the world number one won 14 of the next 17 games to sail into the last 32.

    Data Debrief: Djokovic surpasses Nadal at Roland-Garros

    The undisputed 'King of Clay', Nadal's record of 14 French Open titles looks highly unlikely to be under any severe threat in the near future.

    However, Djokovic has surpassed the Spaniard by reaching round three at Roland-Garros for a 19th time in his 20 appearances - the most appearances by any player during the Open Era.

    The Serb also notched up his 94th match win at the French Open. That is his joint-most at a single ATP event in his career, matching is tally at the Australian Open, where he is a 10-time champion.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.