The Scottish champions have eight Korean and Japanese players on their roster.
Celtic announced the signings of Yang Hyun-jun and Kwon Hyuk-kyu from the K League on Thursday through their official channels. Both players have signed five-year contracts.
Yang played for Gangwon FC and Kwon Hyuk-kyu played for Busan I-Park before moving to Europe last season. They join Ki Sung-yong (2009-2012), Cha Doo-ri (2010-2012) and Oh Hyun-gyu, who joined from Suwon Samseong last winter, as the fourth and fifth players to wear the Celtic colors. Like the trio of South Koreans who played for Augsburg in the German Bundesliga – Ji Dong-won, Koo Ja-cheol, and Hong Jeong-ho – Oh and younger players like Yang Hyun-joon and Kwon Hyuk-kyu have found a home at Celtic.
With the addition of Yang and Kwon, Celtic now have eight players from East Asia, with three South Koreans and five Japanese. Leo Hatate, Daizen Maeda, Tomoki Iwata, Yuki Kobayashi, and Kyogo Furuhashi are among the Japanese players who play for Celtic. Add in Australian Marco Tilio and you have nine players from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It’s certainly a unique structure considering there are only seven Scottish players in the current squad.
Oh, Hyun-gyu, Yang, and Kwon will have to compete with their Japanese counterparts in good faith, but also in a battle of pride. In order to gain the upper hand in the fierce Best 11 battle, they need to dominate their opponents with their skills. The competition is especially fierce among the Korean players because their positions are concentrated in the attack and midfield. Only Kobayashi is a center back, but the rest of the players have overlapping positions.
Striker Oh Hyun-gyu already had an internal rivalry with Furuhashi last season. Furuhashi scored a whopping 27 goals in the league last season. He’s clearly ahead of the competition for a starting spot. Add to that Maeda’s ability to cover all areas of the offense, and Oh and Yang have a lot to worry about. In the center midfield, Kwon Hyuk-gyu will have to work with Iwata or compete with Hatate in the middle.
The competition will be fierce, but fortunately, Celtic is a team that is looking to win multiple competitions, not just the league, but cups as well. In the 2023-2024 season, they’ll also be playing in the UEFA Champions League. Sufficient rotation is essential Yang Hyun-joon and Kwon Hyuk-kyu, who have just joined the team, will have plenty of opportunities. 스포츠토토
While Oh and the rest of the team will be entering preseason, the good news is that Yang and Kwon have already played a season and are ready to go. They’ve played a lot of minutes for their former clubs and joined Celtic, so they may be in better shape than the others. He just needs to integrate well into the team, and the presence of Oh Hyun-gyu, who is a senior member of the team, will help him do that.
Celtic will face Wolverhampton in the English Premier League on Sept. 29 in Dublin, Ireland. The following day, they travel to Glasgow to take on traditional Spanish powerhouse Athletic Bilbao. The preseason schedule concludes with the first league game of the new season on May 5 against Ross County.