Kyogo Furuhashi is the best striker this club has had since Larsson.
That’s a commonly held view, and has actually passed over into something like the accepted wisdom. It’s not for nothing either, and few dispute it.
When he signed the new deal few thought that there would be a challenger to his place as our main striker. We may all have been wrong.
Daizen Maeda has been impressing people at Celtic and in the wider game for a while now, but today, as on other days, he looked on a different planet. When this guy is on his game he is almost unplayable. The idea of him running at the ageing Tavernier in another campaign makes me smile widely. But today was so good we may never see that again.
The manager was obviously not experimenting when he played Maeda through the middle.
We’ve seen him played there for Celtic, and in fact he was the main starter in that position for the team we took on today, and in the year we signed him was top scorer in the J League. Today he upped his game to a whole different level, and it was thrilling watching it.
His movement was brilliant, his alertness first rate, his finishing exactly as we wanted to see it. Rodgers may well decide to play him through the middle next weekend against Wolves; I don’t think he’ll start that game, but you never know.
All this will come down to is numbers.
What does Maeda give us out wide? Goals plus assists.
Kyogo gives us goals plus assists. The former manager played them in the same team, but if Rodgers decides to go out and spend big money on “the new Jota” and we keep Abada wide right, what then? If Maeda scores and assists more than Kyogo he’ll start ahead of him … that’s just how it’ll work in a Rodgers team where there are no favourites.
I personally love to see them both in the same team, but if we’re seriously going out to sign a wide midfielder for the left then something has to give and until today I’d have said Maeda would have definitely been the guy who dropped out of the starting eleven. That’s not so certain anymore, and I am pleased to be able to write that.
Competition is crucial for pushing every player to be better. Before today most people would have said we had one outstanding striker and two very capable deputies.
That may not be the case. We may have two exceptional footballers in that role and not just one. The evidence for that has been there all along. After today, it cannot be ignored.