An update has emerged on Celtic and their pursuit of central defender Yuki Kobayashi ahead of the January transfer window…
Ange Postecoglou is, according to reports from Japan, closing in on a deal to bring the defender to Glasgow at the start of 2023 for an undisclosed fee.
Barry Anderson, of the Scotsman, Tweeted: “Celtic set to sign Yuki Kobayashi in January. Left-sided centre-back, 6ft 1in, age 22, likes to play out from defence. Japanese media reporting a deal has now been agreed with his club, Vissel Kobe.”
Sky Sports journalist Anthony Joseph also Tweeted: “As per reports in Japan, Celtic are in talks with Vissel Kobe over centre-back Yuki Kobayashi. The Hoops are hoping to seal the deal and have the 22-year-old join the club in the January transfer window.”
The Daily Mail have reported that there has been interest shown in Welsh in recent windows and a deal to sign Kobayashi could allow Postecoglou to move the Scottish defender on.
Therefore, it would make sense for Celtic to sign a player with the potential to become a key player in the starting XI in the form of Kobayashi.
The 22-year-old Vissel Kobe central defender is a naturally left-footed player and this means that the 6 foot 1 titan could offer more balance to Celtic’s build-up play than the Scottish squad player.
Welsh has been played on the left of the centre-back pairing when he has featured this season and unbalanced the side as he is naturally right-footed, which is why Kobayashi could be more suited to that role as he can open up on his favoured foot to play down the left channel.
A-League writer Sacha Pisani provided an insight into the type of player he is, saying: “Yuki’s good in the air. Reads/anticipates game well. Comfortable on ball as left-footer & very good at blocking shots.”
In 2022, Kobayashi has won 68% of his individual duels and completed 86% of his attempted passes across 31 appearances in the J-League. Meanwhile, Welsh has won 57% of his battles and completed 91% of his passes in the Premiership this season.
These statistics suggest that the Vissel Kobe enforcer could be an upgrade on the Celtic man from a defensive perspective, as he is more dominant in one-on-one duels, whilst their passing stats are fairly similar.
Couple this with the comfortability the Japanese gem would have on the left-hand side and you have a clear reason why the Hoops should sign Kobayashi to replace Welsh.