Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Maeda 2:0 Celtic eye Tomoki Iwata

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The January transfer window may not yet have officially opened, although Scottish champions Celtic are already seemingly closing in on their third winter addition, with the Parkhead giants having snapped up Alistair Johnston and Yuki Kobayashi in recent weeks.

The latest indication is that Japanese international Tomoki Iwata is the next in line to join the Old Firm outfit in the New Year, with reports in his homeland – via Football Scotland – suggesting that the 25-year-old is close to sealing a loan switch to Glasgow.

The belief is that that temporary deal will include a permanent clause of around £800k, with manager Ange Postecoglou keen for a reunion with the versatile ace – who can feature in the backline or in midfield – after previously signing the four-cap gem for Yokohama F. Marinos back in 2021.

The experienced coach had been full of praise for the 5 foot 10 gem at the time of his capture, notably describing the adaptable ace as “excellent in many positions”, as well as lauding his “strength and aggression”.

The “impressive” machine – as described by journalist Sacha Pisani – will likely be hoping to follow in the footsteps of a number of his compatriots if he is to make the move to Paradise in the near future, with the likes of Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda having also shone for the Hoops of late.

Iwata’s arrival would seemingly mirror the signing of that man Maeda, with the dynamic marksman having also been snapped up on an initial loan deal from Yokohama in January earlier this year, before signing permanently over the summer.

The acquisition of the 25-year-old has proven something of a masterstroke as far as Postecoglou is concerned, with the explosive asset having gone on to score 13 goals and register nine assists in 47 games in all competitions for the Bhoys.

Lauded as a “livewire” and a “nuisance” by pundit BBC Sport Rio Ferdinand following his displays at the World Cup in Qatar, the relentless gem had needed little time to adapt to Scottish football, having scored on debut against Hibernian back in January.

While the £18k-per-week man may have his flaws – having been described as a “headless chicken” by journalist Casey Evans – the forward has impressed due to his remarkable work ethic down the flanks, with Chris Sutton dubbing him a “one-man closing down machine” last season.

The striker’s quality was also evident in the recent victory over Hibernian, as he shook off an earlier miss to net a stunning, curling effort in that 4-0 thrashing, having been a “real handful” on the night, according to Sutton.

With Maeda’s signing clearly having paid off for Celtic, such has been his impact in 2022, the club could repeat that transfer masterclass with the capture of his former teammate and international colleague, Iwata.



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