It’s taken its time, but the Ange Postecoglou era at Celtic is slowly coming together.
After the signings of Sheffield Wednesday‘s Osaze Urhoghide and Israeli winger Liel Abada, the Australian now has his third signing in the door in Japanese attacker Kyogo Furuhashi.
The versatile winger has been in inspired form for Vissel Kobe this season, netting 15 goals in 21 appearances, but he’s only set the Hoops back a cool £4.5m.
So who is the new signing? And what can Celtic fans expect from him at Parkhead?
Here’s everything you need to know.
The minute the signing was announced, the assumption was that Postecoglou had swooped in for a player he’s worked with before. But this is not the case.
He was in charge of Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan. Furuhashi came through the ranks at Chuo University, and signed for third-tier side FC Gifu in 2017.
He immediately set about tearing it apart, and within 18 months, he’d signed for Japanese giants Vissel Kobe, who just sold him to Celtic.
That doesn’t mean Postecoglou is flying blind, however. Far from it.
The popular rumour doing the rounds is that Furuhashi once scored a hat-trick against Postecoglou’s Yokohama F. Marinos, but that’s not the case – it was against Yokohama FC, and after Postecoglou had left for Scotland.
But he did manage three goals in five appearances against Marinos, most notably in the 2020 Japanese Super Cup, when Vissel Kobe edged Postecoglou’s side out on penalties.
You should watch his Yokohama treble in the video above anyway though. Masterful stuff.
Furuhashi doesn’t really have a set position. For Vissel Kobe, he played off the left more often than not, but he’s just as comfortable coming off the right or through the middle.
In terms of his game, he’s a dribbler, and loves nothing more than taking the ball and running at people. He’s also lightning quick and thrives off through-balls – nine of his 14 J-League goals this season came from low balls in behind the defence.
Starting to get a feel for what sort of player Celtic are getting now? Well, let us enlighten you further.
If there’s one thing he hates, it’s losing.
When asked earlier this year to describe his style of play, he said: “I consider myself fast, explosive and I can play in any forward position. But most of all I absolutely hate losing.”
That bodes well for Celtic, then – judging by the standard of opposition across the city, they can’t afford to lose too often.
It may take Furuhashi, a slight, tricky winger, some time to adapt to the physicality of the Scottish game. But one thing that won’t faze him is the standard of football.
This season, he’s rubbed shoulders with the likes of Andres Iniesta and Thomas Vermaelen, while David Villa briefly joined him in the Vissel Kobe forward line during his time in Japan.
So yeah, keeping up with Callum McGregor and James Forrest shouldn’t be a problem.
Furuhashi’s form this season was always destined to take him to Europe, but he’s not stopping at Celtic.
Playing with Villa and Iniesta over the years has opened his eyes to the Spanish way of playing, and his dream is to make it to La Liga.
“Much of my education came from playing with Iniesta and Villa. When it was announced they were coming, I thought to myself, ‘am I really going to be playing with these legends I watched on TV?’
“They are spectacular players and have been an absolute treasure for my football development.
“My ultimate aim is to play at the World Cup with Japan and eventually play in La Liga. I love Spain, I have visited the country four times and I always watch the matches from there every week.
“I’ve even started learning to speak Spanish. My dream is to play there one day.”