How would Celtic deal with losing Kyogo, Maeda & Oh during the Asian Cup?

Celtic face a tricky upcoming scenario in January as, from the 12th January until the 10th February, the Asian Cup will be underway and Celtic will have plenty of their Asian contingent heading over to represent their respective nations.

Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate will all be in the running to represent Japan at the tournament where the Samurai Blue are the most successful nation, winning it four times.

Oh Hyeon-gyu and perhaps Yang Hyun-jun may also be in the running to represent South Korea at the tournament, meaning Celtic could be without up to five key players during a month when the fixture list can get pretty congested.

This period could be even more difficult to manage when you consider that Celtic’s only two striking options, Kyogo Furuhashi and Oh Hyeon-gyu, will both be unavailable.

If both players were ordinarily unavailable, Brendan Rodgers could have tapped into the versatility of Daizen Maeda, who can deputise in the striking position, but the injured winger is also likely to be part of the Japanese squad come January.

So how do Celtic navigate their way past this challenge? Is the answer already at the club, or will Rodgers need to look elsewhere in the winter transfer window?

Signing a new striker?

A new striker is something that has been spoken about by plenty of Celtic supporters as well as on the ACSOM Bulletin. Celtic were heavily linked with Danish forward Mathias Kvistgaarden in the summer, and reapproaching with another offer for the Dane could be a possibility.

The Brondby forward has stated that, “I honestly don’t know what happened,” regarding the collapse of a potential move to Parkhead in the summer. Celtic had seen a £4.3million bid rejected, with Brondby unwilling to back down from their £6million valuation of the forward.

He has been in good form this season, grabbing five goals and five assists in 14 games, but whether Celtic would want to spend that sort of money on what would effectively be a third-choice striker is a different story.

On signing a forward, Brendan Rodgers said, “It’s about strategy. You can either buy one or you can look at the loan market. It’s always about availability and what you can afford as well.”

However, the former Leicester boss hinted towards the solution to this problem potentially being at the club when he said, “Our first look will always be inside. Is there anyone in the academy we feel can step in? You never know, you might have a £15 million or £20 million player in there.”


Is the answer already at the club?

In that same press conference, Brendan Rodgers mentioned how, in his previous spell at the club he had experimented with using Patrick Roberts and James Forrest as strikers, and he could look to do something similar, albeit with different personnel.

Currently injured Liel Abada has served as a striker for Celtic before and produced some decent results whilst both Kyogo and Giorgos Giakoumakis were out of action. If the Israeli hasn’t recovered from his injury in time, however, then playing Luis Palma up front could be another option.

The Honduran has shown in his time in Glasgow that he is a clinical finisher, and he actually played as a centre-forward on multiple occasions for Aris Thessaloniki last season and to great effect, grabbing six goals and five assists in the 11 games he has played as a striker in his career.

Whilst the Asian Cup departures aren’t ideal, Celtic will need to react to it somehow, and the answer could already be at the club’s disposal.


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