Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou ‘will be desperate’ to keep hold of influential attacker Daizen Maeda this month, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.
The Lowdown: Maeda a key figure for Hoops
The Japanese striker has become an important performer for the Hoops since arriving last year, scoring 15 goals and registering ten assists so far.
Worryingly, however, Maeda has been linked with a move away from Parkhead, with Southampton one of the clubs believed to be eyeing him up.
The 25-year-old could potentially be swayed by the lure of the Premier League, but it is clear what Postecoglou’s stance on the matter is.
The Latest: Ange ‘desperate’ to keep him
Speaking to Give Me Sport, O’Rourke said that the Celtic boss will do all he can to keep Maeda at the club beyond January:
“I think he will be desperate to keep him, even more so now that they’ve missed out on a striker and Giakoumakis is possibly leaving as well. If that was to happen, it would really leave Celtic short up front.”
The Verdict: Would be a big loss
Maeda has arguably become Celtic’s most important attacking player this season, having chipped in with five goals and assists apiece, including a vital strike away to Rangers recently.
At the 2022 World Cup, Rio Ferdinand called him a ‘man possessed’, as he scored once in Qatar and led Japan’s press excellently, playing roughly an hour each in huge upsets against Germany and Spain as well as in the draw with Croatia, where his side lost on penalties.
“He’s been an absolute live wire. I think it’s only his second international goal but he’s looked like a man possessed up there,” Ferdinand said after the eventual defeat to Croatia.
“You wouldn’t want to play against him, he’s constantly running around and making it difficult for you, with and without the ball he is an absolute nuisance. That’s the catalyst for the others in his team to come high and press high.
“His movement has been fantastic and some top drawer movement. What I like about him is he is always on the move. He drifts behind centre-halves.”
The 12-time capped Japan international is clearly someone who not only scores and creates for others but also possesses a superb work ethic, averaging 1.4 tackles per game in the Scottish Premiership in 2022/23.
Maeda suddenly leaving would be a massive blow for Celtic, giving them little time to find a replacement, not to mention the fact that Giorgos Giakoumakis could also leave.
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