In aggregate, this means Celtic paid around £9m for £29m worth of talent, a discount of nearly 70% – good business by any measure.
These players have played a key part in Celtic’s success. Furuhashi is the leading goal scorer in the Scottish Premiership with 19 goals, Maeda is among the top 10 players in the league for assists per 90, and Hatate is is one of the most dangerous passers in the league – he is in the top 1% for pass accuracy and has completed the third highest number of passes in the final third, creating eight ‘big chances’ (i.e. chances that lead to a clear cut goal scoring opportunity) in the process, ranking him sixth overall.
In an age of modern football recruitment where data is readily available, a lack of market knowledge should not be a barrier to finding value in unfashionable markets. Celtic’s recruitment along with Japan’s impressive showing in the Qatar World Cup suggests that Japan’s football system is more productive than the European market realises. There is value there for those prepared and able to look. The question is now, for how much longer?
If you would like to find out more about our Performance Intelligence services and recruiting to or from Japan, please get in touch with Ben Marlow.