Yuki Kobayashi and Celtic’s long overdue balance at the back

With the great news that we have signed Yuki Kobayashi up just as the reports from reliable Japanese media said we would, it means that there will finally be a left-footed centre-back in the Celtic squad which I think we have been crying out for for some time now. The former Vissel Kobe defender has signed a five-year-contract and at 22, has a hell of a lot of development still to come.

Central defence is one of they positions that is just absolutely essential the manager gets right. Last year, the partnership of American, Cameron Carter-Vickers and his Swedish comrade, Carl Starfelt ensured that we recovered the league title after losing it the season before. Both were solid after Carl had a somewhat mixed start to life at Parkhead but finished the season really strongly.

In the summer transfer window, Ange dipped his toes back into the market for another centre-back, signing Moritz Jenz on-loan from Lorient in France’s Ligue 1. There is an option-to-buy included in that deal and the jury is still out on whether or not the manager will make that particular relationship a permanent one. He has had some good games and some bad games; however, the German has proved he is good on the ball which Ange is looking for in his defenders.

 22nd October 2022. Moritz Jenz of Celtic during the cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle . Photo Neil Hanna / Sportimage 

Having said all that, none of the central defenders we currently have on the books – unless you include Abderdeen loanee, Liam Scales – are left footed. Sometimes that balance at the back is crucial in certain games and having a player that has that is a great option to have in there. It would appear that Starfelt would be the preferred candidate to partner the bulky and imperious Carter-Vickers by Ange. But sometimes Carl can look awkward in games also as he is a right footed player playing on the left-hand side of the backline.

We have yet to really see what Yuki Kobayashi is all about and the young man should be given time. He may have to bide his time for a chance in this team but if he can prove himself then he has an advantage over all the others vying for that second central defensive berth. 1 January can’t come quick enough as far as I’m concerned!

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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