Yuki Kobayashi looks set to join Yokohama F Marinos on loan. The central defender will link up with Harry Kewell, who left his role as Celtic First Team Coach to become the J-League side’s manager last week.
According to Daily Mail’s Stephen McGowan, Kobayashi will be the first of the departures in January as Brendan Rodgers looks to reshape his squad. The 23-year-old hasn’t made an appearance this season and it has been expected that he would be moved on to find game time.
After arriving from Vissel Kobe, Kobayashi made just seven appearances and appeared increasingly uneasy with the pace and physical nature of Scottish football. It was telling that Ange decided to go with Tomoki Iwata over Kobayashi in the Scottish Cup Final after a poor showing at Ibrox by Kobayashi.
It is a benefit to Celtic that Kewell will be in charge of the Marinos as it is clearly someone that Brendan can trust. This way he can keep on top of Kobayashi’s progress and whether he will make the necessary improvements to get into the first team picture at Celtic.
Kobayashi will join Nat Phillips in departing Celtic this month with the Englishman returning to Liverpool after his disappointing loan spell. Gustaf Lagerbielke is also expected to be made available to move on, leaving Rodgers with four central defenders – Cameron Carter-Vickers, Liam Scales, Maik Nawrocki and Stephen Welsh. There are rumours about Scott McKenna but it remains to be seen whether the interest is genuine.