Sports | Dec 01

Japanese centre-back Yuki Kobayashi joins Celtic from Vissel Kobe

Celtic have once again exploited the Japanese football market by signing Vissel Kobe centre-back, Yuki Kobayashi.

The defender agreed on a five-year contract with Celtic and will join the team on December 1 for training. Kobayashi won’t be available to play for Celtic until the January transfer window opens, but a month of training will give the centre-back plenty of time to bed into the team.

Manager Ange Postecoglou has now signed five players from the J-League since taking over Celtic. He previously signed Japan’s Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate, and Yosuke Ideguchi with all four making major impacts at Celtic Park. Celtic are currently nine points ahead of second-place Rangers and Kobayashi’s addition will provide Postecoglou more options in defence.

Fans of the J-League are preparing for the 2023 season and are debating whether Vissel Kobe can make a run at the title. J-League fans can use the bet365 ボーナスコード to wager on the league’s matches each week.

According to Transfermarkt, Kobayashi’s contract with Vissel Kobe will expire in January, making him a free agent. Celtic’s addition of Kobayashi won’t cost them a transfer fee. The 22-year-old defender is expected to fight for a first-team place with Celtic’s starting central defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers and Moritz Jenz. The Japanese defender will add some much need depth at central defender for Celtic for the second half of the season. Kobayashi is valued at €600,000 ahead of his move to Parkhead.

Kobayashi previously played for Japan's U20 team. He was not called up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in which Japan played in Group E alongside Spain, Germany, and Costa Rica.

The left-footed defender played 32 times for Vissel Kobe in 2022. He picked up three yellow cards and one red card in a total of 2,586 minutes of J-League football. Kobayashi appeared in 41 games across all competitions for Vissel Kobe and failed to register a goal or assist for the team.

Vissel Kobe finished the J-League season in a disappointing 13th place and just four points above the relegation zone. The team conceded just 41 goals in 34 matches.

Kobayashi joined Vissel Kobe in 2018 and was a part of a team that won the 2018 Emperor’s Cup and the 2020 Japanese Super Cup. However, Kobayashi did spend time on loan during at fellow Japanese clubs Machida Zelvia and Yokohama FC.

The defender came through Vissel Kobe’s youth academy. Kobayashi appeared in 78 games in all competitions for the J-League team. Furuhashi, one of Celtic fans’ favourite players, was also signed from Vissel Kobe. Postecoglou will hope Kobayashi can follow in the footsteps of his countryman.

As part of Kobayashi’s exit from Vissel Kobe, the club produce a documentary on the defender detailing his rise from the youth level all the way up to the first team. It was a sensational way for Kobayashi to depart the team he grew up supporting.

Celtic will resume the Scottish Premiership campaign on Saturday, December 17 against Aberdeen at Pittodrie. The Hoops are nine points clear of Rangers with a record of 14W-0D-1L.


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