Scottish champions Celtic have already moved swiftly to strengthen ahead of the January transfer window, with manager Ange Postecoglou having overseen the additions of both Alistair Johnston and Yuki Kobayashi thus far.
That defensive duo could well be joined at Parkhead by Japanese international Tomoki Iwata, with reports in his homeland – via Football Scotland – suggesting that the Yokohama F. Marinos midfielder is in line for a medical with the Old Firm outfit ahead of a loan switch next month.
That deal – which could well be made permanent for a fee of around £800k at the end of the season – would see the 25-year-old reunited with the current Hoops boss, with Postecoglou having previously signed the versatile ace – who can also feature at right-back – during his time in charge of the J-League outfit.
Speaking at the time of that capture in 2021, the experienced coach explained his reasoning behind the move, notably lauding the player’s flexibility to be deployed in a variety of roles, stating:
“Tomoki has been a player I have been watching for some time. I saw a player who was excellent in many positions – that’s why I signed him.
“He can play at the bottom of the midfield as an anchor or as a central defender. He is very comfortable as a right back or a right midfielder too. What I like about him is the strength and aggression that he will bring to the team.”
The 5-foot-10 ace has since gone on to flourish for his current side, having proven particularly impressive in 2022 under Kevin Muscat’s tutelage, only recently winning the J-League’s Most Valuable Player award as a result of his “standout” displays, as lauded by journalist Sacha Pisani.
The four-cap ace – who scored twice and laid on two assists in 40 games in the most recent campaign from his defensive-minded berth – was an “absolute beast” for his side, as per Pisani, helping the club to secure the league title as a result.
A player who is “highly rated” at Yokohama – according to Pisani – Iwata would surely be a truly astute capture for the Glasgow giants were the move to occur, with Postecoglou able to fashion a truly mouthwatering midfield duo involving his former asset alongside current Celtic Park hero, Reo Hatate.
That impressive tally is an indication of the diminutive gem’s playmaking and creative quality, with the 25-year-old having arguably been the club’s “best signing” during Postecoglou’s tenure, according to pundit Frank McAvennie.
Like Iwata, the £12k-per-week ace also offers remarkable adaptability having only recently thrived as a makeshift right-back in the win over St Johnstone, producing something of a “masterclass” in that role, according to journalist John McGinley, after scoring twice.
The “intense” maestro – as lauded by McAvennie – offers a truly relentless presence in the centre of the park, with it only seemingly set to be a further boost to have another aggressive asset such as Iwata brought into the side – with that trait praised by Postecoglou, as mentioned above.
With January additions – such as Hatate – having more than paid off for the Bhoys earlier this year, the Scottish Premiership side could well pull off another masterstroke with the addition of the Yokohama machine.