The need for a ‘midfield spark’ might be a ‘more pressing’ priority’ for Celtic in the January transfer window than signing Daizen Maeda, according to The Athletic‘s Kieran Devlin.
According to the journalist, there was ‘a painful lack of midfield creativity’ in Celtic’s goalless draw with Livingston at the weekend, a result which saw the Hoops slip four points back from arch-rivals Rangers at the top of the Premiership. SofaScore figures showing that just two of their 16 shots were on target on Saturday illustrate the lack of cutting edge in the final third.
Ange Postecoglou ‘definitely’ wants to strengthen his midfield ranks with at least one addition in January, but Yokohama F Marinos forward Maeda, valued at just £990,000 by Transfermarkt, is also thought to be of interest ahead of the mid-season transfer window.
In an article for The Athletic, Devlin confirmed Celtic’s interest in the 24-year-old and said that there’s ‘certainly a place’ for him at Parkhead, particularly if one of the club’s existing forward options was to leave.
He thinks that the Japanese international ‘has the attributes to succeed’ under Postecoglou but cited fears that the ‘agonising’ midfield weaknesses on show at Parkhead may need to be addressed first.
Maeda looks like he would be a good addition. He has 18 goals in 35 appearances this season, and from a stylistic point of view, he might fill a gap in the Celtic squad.
Indeed, Devlin reckons he would represent ‘more like-for-like support and competition’ for compatriot Kyogo Furuhashi than Giorgos Giakoumakis, who has a different style to his game.
Are the funds there to both snap him up and address this midfield concern, though? Celtic did turn a profit of nearly £14m in the summer transfer window after selling Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer, but that figure needs to be placed in context, as Celtic have also reported a 13.4% decrease in revenue from 2020.
The January transfer window could be a balancing act, and the Hoops may be faced with a choice of either going for Maeda or addressing the midfield concerns highlighted by Devlin.
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