Prospect of Celtic with Ange: point of view from Japan

Will Ange make Celtic the league champion?

I believe Celtic will be the champion from the second year onwards; I’m not so sure about the first year.

As many Australians have explained, his tactics would require a year of preparation before they could reach their full potential. Yokohama had big wins and close losses in his first season. If this is to be repeated, fans should be prepared for a certain amount of games like the one against Hearts in this season. From the second year, fans can expect to get many results like the one against Dundee.

A root of Ange’s idea is simple: more goals, more fan. Basically, he uses a lot of resources for offense. Sometimes, however, defensive resources are in short. He needs fine-tuning to find the optimal balance between offense and defense.

Can Kyogo keep scoring goals in the future?

Basically, yes. He was also a consistent scorer in the J.League.

But he is not a six-foot muscular man, so he’s not effective as No.9 when the opponents park the bus in front of their goal, I think. If that happens, he could play on the wing or as a No.10.

For many strikers, the number of goals they score varies greatly depending on their environment. Remember Fernando Torres, for example. He scored 65 goals in 102 games for Liverpool, but only 20 goals in 110 games for Chelsea. If Kyogo had been with another SPL club, it is unlikely that he would have been playing as a No.9 and would have been treated as a mediocre winger. His dreamy debut in Paradise came about because Ange was team’s manager and Ange needed him.

Will Kyogo (and Ange) make sales in Japan (and Australia) for the Celtic?

Basically no, but partially yes. John Duerden has already written an answer to this question.

If single prominent player is in a country, the player will gather nation-wide sales from the country, and sometimes amount of the sales exceeds £10 million. Twenty years ago, it was Nakata and Nakamura, and ten years ago it was Honda and Kagawa who were such prominent players in Japan. In other Asian countries, Son Heung-min of Korea and Wu Lei of China are such money-making players.

So is Kyogo such a prominent player in Japan? No. The current Japanese international squad has many players at similar level: Kamada (Frankfurt), Ito (Genk), and Doan (PSV) are highly rated in their leagues, while Minamino and Kubo are with mega clubs and are on loan within their leagues. For each position of Japan squad, from forward to defender, one or two players are at the level of UEFA Europa League, and Kyogo is one of them. He won’t become a national megastar unless he makes a big splash in the World Cup.

By the way, he’s one of the stars. Kobe (the city of his former team) has a population of one million people. In my opinion, Kyogo can make sales in Japan from £0.1 to 1 million (on aggregate of shirt sales, sponsorship and TV revenue). That money won’t make Celtic a mega club, but it is worth the annual salary of few backup players.

Can Celtic recruit good players from Japan?

There are some players in Japan who would be good in the SPL, but you should ask Ange for specific names.

In general, the best players in the J.League can be expected to do well in the SPL. Players who are named Team of the Year in the J-League often receive Team of the Year or equivalent recognition in the “second tier” European leagues as well. Such players include Morioka and Ito in Belgium, and Morita in Portugal. Now Kyogo has been added to this list. When young stars (nominated for the youth national teams) move to the “second tier” leagues, half of them will succeed.

Sint-Truiden, a club in Belgian league, is a good benchmark for the J.League, as it is owned by Japanese capital and hires many Japanese players. In this club, half of the Japanese players have led the club to a higher level. Tomiyasu, Kamada and Endo are some of the best examples. On the other hand, half of the Japanese players left the club after failing to make an impact. In my opinion, J.League can be considered to be equivalent to Band 2 or Band 3 as defined by the English FA.

When evaluating players and teams in the J.League, it should be noted that the performance of individual clubs is unstable due to good balance throughout the league (The same can be said for the A-League in Australia). In this league, very small changes can make a big difference in the final standings. Within the last 10 years, J.League clubs that have participated in the Asian Champions League (ACL) have been relegated twice. The most typical example is Gamba Osaka in 2012, which played in the ACL, scored the most goals in the league, and even had a positive goal differential, yet was relegated. Yasuhito Endo, the club’s leader, continued to be nominated for the international squad while in J2.league (domestic second tier). Ange’s team was certainly in the middle of the table at 2020, but his record as a manager was one of consistency in the J.League.

Contrary, a few superpowers dominate the league in most of European leagues: e.g. Celtic and Rangers in the SPL, Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Bayern and Dortmund in Germany, and the “big three”s in the Portugal, Netherlands and Turkey. If you are trying to buy players from Eastern European leagues, scouting domestic superpower such as Red Star Belgrade or Dinamo Zagreb will suffice, as those clubs attract good domestic players. Structure of J.League is totally different from those leagues. If J.League clubs participated in European leagues, both champions and relegated teams would often find themselves in the middle of the table.