What does the future hold for Reo Hatate?

Reo Hatate’s future at Celtic was a major question amongst supporters heading into the summer transfer window and into the new season. Celtic fans have grown accustomed to the club failing to keep hold of their top talents and prospects, with the allure of richer leagues and untold riches proving effective in turning Celtic players’ heads.

Reo Hatate could be the latest to add to the long list of players to leave Parkhead for the Premier League, as alarm bells started ringing amongst supporters when the 25-year-old was initially linked with Brighton early on in the summer.

This was later reaffirmed a week-and-a-half ago as Seagulls’ boss Roberto De Zerbi confirmed he was in the market for a new midfielder with Brighton losing their Ecuadorian Moises Caicedo to Chelsea for a fee worth £113million. Coincidentally, Celtic were linked with Caicedo way back when he played for Independiente Del Valle in 2020 for a minuscule fee compared to what he’s just gone for.

Hatate’s quotes from Celtic’s pre-season tour of Japan didn’t really ease fans’ worries as, when quizzed by the Daily Record on where he wishes to play football amidst links with joining Jota at Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad, he said, “At a high level such as the Premier League. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime stage, so if I can play, I’d like to take on the challenge.”

With news emerging today that Hatate has turned down Celtic’s initial improved contract offer, perhaps his future lies elsewhere. With Celtic continuing their negotiations with the player as we move into the final week of the transfer window, what is the mostly likely situation Hatate will find himself in in the coming weeks?

Away from Celtic?

Fans have often talked up Hatate’s ability to compete at the top level and he backed that up with some phenomenal displays in the Champions League last season. However, missing out on Japan’s run to the World Cup Round of 16 where they saw off Spain and Germany to top their group would have no doubt stung for the former Kawasaki Frontale playmaker.

Links away from the club haven’t really been too concrete, however, with potential destinations including the aforementioned Brighton, a reunion with Ange Postecoglou, and a move to Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia.

In saying all that, a lot of this seems like paper talk and nothing more than that. A link with joining Ange Postecoglou at Spurs was a familiar theme amongst Celtic players with Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers also linked with Spurs. Meanwhile, a move to Saudi Arabia didn’t have anything concrete in it and coincidentally directly followed Jota’s transfer.

Future at Celtic?

Hatate is currently injured and may be in a race against time to be fit for the derby at Ibrox on 3rd September. Brendan Rodgers still seems to be making up his mind of the Japanese international’s position amongst the squad, however, with David Turnbull starting both league games where Hatate was available.

After a poor display from Turnbull in the first 45 minutes at Pittodrie, Hatate looked like he was regaining his place in the side after re-energising the Celtic midfield when he replaced him at half-time. Unfortunatley for Reo, an injury killed off that momentum he was building in the game.

It remains to be seen what role Hatate will have in Rodgers’ Celtic side, but if he chooses to stay around then there is no doubt he will have a big part to play.


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