With Ange Postecoglou now sitting proudly as Celtic manager, their plans for the new campaign are beginning to build up a head of steam.
A number of Postecoglou’s countrymen have been linked with a move, while a plethora of J-League players are also said to be taking his fancy.
Reports from Japan (via The Sun) suggest that Celtic are interested in signing Kaoru Mitoma from Kawasaki Frontale.
Described as the most “creative” player in the entire Japanese top-flight by Juco James from the Huddle podcast, he is a rampant force in the final third.
What stands out about his game are the positions he shoots and subsequently scores from. With help from Bhoys Analytics, we can see that the 24-year-old has only taken five attempts towards goal outside the box in his last 75 attempts.
All of his 15 goals are from inside the box while 18 efforts from inside the area that didn’t find the net are all on target.
You should give Kouru Mitoma, hes a Kawasaki winger. 0.72xG+xA P90 this season and 0.75xG+xA last season. Not 100% sure but i think hes one of the best players in the J-League. Huge dribble volumes (10 P90) of trying to go past players. And just look at that shot map, perfect pic.twitter.com/v41i8vCpfi
— Bhoys Analytics (@BhoysAnalytics) June 10, 2021
This is considerably different from a number of other options already at the club. Celtic engineered a horrendous habit last season of taking shots towards goal from long-range.
As of December, Ryan Christie had taken more shots than any other Celtic player but 64% of them had been from outside the box. By the end of April, Christie had taken 51 shots from long range, resulting in just a solitary goal.
Ryan Christie Shot Map
All Games, 2020/21
– Most shots of any Celtic player
– 64% of shots from outside pen box
— TheCynicWolf (@TheCynicWolf) December 3, 2020
That’s an extremely poor tally but it didn’t get much better for David Turnbull and Callum McGregor either.
As of April 30th, Christie, McGregor and Turnbull had taken more attempts from distance than eight other teams in the Premiership. They’d had 145 shots outside the area with a conversion rate of just 4.1%.
Therefore, the idea of signing Mitoma this summer could completely eradicate those bad habits.
If he dislodges Christie in the XI then it certainly irons out that part of Celtic’s game. The evidence shows that Mitoma takes fewer attempts from range, leading to a better output inside the box.
Postecoglou has plenty of issues to address at Paradise but the Hoops may noy score more goals until this one is sorted out.