Celtic sign Japanese defender Yuki Kobayashi on five-year-deal from J-League side Vissel Kobe

The 22-year-old centre-back will be available for the Hoops from January 1

Celtic have completed the signing of Japanese central defender Yuki Kobayashi on a five-year-deal, subject to international clearance.

GlasgowWorld reported last month that the Hoops were close to finalising a move for the 22-year-old and an agreement has since been reached with J-League side Vissel Kobe following the conclusion of their domestic season.

Regarded as a hugely exciting talent in his homeland, Kobayashi will officially be registered to play for the Scottish champions when the transfer window opens on January 1, but can start training with Ange Postecoglou’s team at the start of NEXT month.

Yuki Kobayashi, pictured in action for Vissel Kobe, has signed for Celtic. (Photo by Kenta Harada/Getty Images)

He will become the fifth Japanese player to arrive at Parkhead under Postecoglou’s reign, following in the footsteps of Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi.

Kobayashi has represented his country at under-20 level and expressed his exctiement at the opportunity to work with the former Yokohama F.Marinos boss.

Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “I am so excited to be joining Celtic and I am really looking forward to this wonderful opportunity. I will be giving everything to try and be successful with the club.

“Right across the world, everyone knows what a special club Celtic is and it will be a real honour to wear this fantastic jersey. The work of Ange Postecoglou is also really well-known in Japan after he had such a great time in the J-League, and as well as being part of Celtic I can’t wait to work with him as a coach and the great team of players he has already developed.

“I know that Celtic over so many years has such a brilliant track record of success and I now want to play my part in bringing more great moments to the club and our fans. I would like to thank Vissel Kobe sincerely for all the support that has been given to me in the early part of my career and now I look forward to embracing this exciting new challenge with Celtic, one of the world’s great football clubs.”

Postecoglou commented: “We’re really pleased. Yuki is someone that we’ve been following for a while and it was a great opportunity to bring him in. He’s a left-sided centre-back, and they’re hard to find.

“He’s still young but he’s already had three or four years of senior experience and he’s really keen to come across and test himself in Europe. I think we saw last year that bringing in guys nice and early gives us the opportunity to bed them in, in that six-month period of the second half of the season, and we’re really looking forward to having him as part of the club.

“He’s a good young man who wants to have a real crack at it here in Europe and for us it’s a great opportunity to invest in a younger player again.”