During the summer of 2016, Brendan Rodgers was searching for a new right back, eventually bringing in Cristian Gamboa from West Bromwich Albion.
But it appears that the Celtic boss was also keeping tabs on Sakai, capped 36 times for Japan.
Sakai gave an interview to France Football, explaining why he chose Marseille over moves to the Eredivisie or the Scottish Premiership and discussing his struggle to settle before becoming a crucial player under Rudi Garcia.
The 27-year-old right back said: “I had three offers [from Ajax, Celtic and Marseille]. [Japan boss] Vahid Halilhodzic told me Marseille was a good club, but it was hard to impose yourself there.
“Since that’s what I wanted, I chose to come here. I think he’s happy that I’m in France.”
Sakai has started all but two of Marseille’s matches this season, most recently playing in the victory against Amiens at the weekend, while Gamboa made 15 appearances for Celtic during the 2016/17 season.