Celtic face race against clock for Rangers match despite breakthroughs in transfer bids

Celtic are on the verge of completing a deal for Kawaski Frontale utility man Reo Hatate.

Reo Hatate, left, is very close to a move to Celtic from Kawasaki Frontale.
Reo Hatate, left, is very close to a move to Celtic from Kawasaki Frontale.

The 24-year-old, who can play anywhere on the left flank or in central midfield, has been linked with the Parkhead club for weeks and major breakthrough appears to have been made.

Following Kawasaki’s exit from the Emperors Cup at the semi-final stage at the weekend, their season is now over, paving the way for the J-League champions to give their blessing to a move.

Numerous reports suggest that a fee has now been agreed between the two clubs, allowing Hatate’s representatives to discuss terms with Celtic.

However, manager Ange Postecoglou faces a race against the clock to get Hatate – and fellow Japanese players Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi – in the building before Celtic take on Rangers in the cinch Premiership on January 2.

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The winter transfer window opens the day before, meaning Celtic would be able to have any new signings registered and able to train the day before the match at Celtic Park, but that would require the deals to speed up this week.

With coronavirus rules tightening due to the emergence of the omicron variant, Hatate, Maeda and Ideguchi may be required to quarantine for up to ten days upon arrival from Scotland, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expected to step up restrictions and rules in the wake of increased cases in Scotland.

Postecoglou is keen to have the three Japanese players available for the Rangers match, and if they are not ready by then, they would likely make their debuts against Alloa Athletic in the Scottish Cup on the weekend of January 22.

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