Celtic are interested in a deal to bring Thiago Santana to Parkhead in the January transfer window.
That’s according to a report by Japanese media outlet Sponichi (via Daily Record), who claim that, with Giorgios Giakoumakis seemingly nearing an exit from Glasgow this month, Ange Postecoglou is ramping up his search for the Greek centre-forward’s replacement in attack, with the 57-year-old thought to have now placed the Shimizu S-Pulse striker on his shortlist.
The report goes on to suggest that, while it had initially appeared as if the Celtic manager was set to bring Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors star Cho Gue-sung to the reigning Premiership champions this month, a move for the South Korea international now appears to be off the table, forcing Postecoglou to turn his focus in the transfer market elsewhere.
Considering just how impressive Thiago was in Japan last season, it is not difficult to understand why Postecoglou would be interested in a deal to bring the Brazilian striker to Parkhead as an alternative to Cho.
Indeed, over his 27 J League appearances in 2022, the £1.6m-rated talent was in devastating attacking form, scoring 14 goals, registering six assists and creating 10 big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 2.6 shots, making 1.3 key passes and completing 1.1 dribbles per game.
These returns saw the 29-year-old who journalist Vinicius Moura dubbed “impressive” average a simply sensational Sofascore match rating of 7.18, not only ranking the striker as Shimizu S-Pulse’s best performer league but also as the 10th-best player in the top flight of Japenese football as a whole last time out.
For comparison, over Cho’s 31 K-League 1 games last year, the £2.2m-rated forward scored 17 goals, provided five assists and created five big chances for his teammates, as well as took an average of 3.3 shots – 1.5 of which hit the target – made 1.2 key passes and completed 0.5 dribbles per match.
It is true that Thiago is five older than Cho, but considering the Brazilian boasted a better goals-to-game ratio than the Korean last term, in addition to setting up more goals and creating more big chances, it would indeed appear as if the 29-year-old would be an upgrade on the Jeonbuk star. That leads us to believe that Postecoglou must move for the Shimizu striker this month.