As the transfer rumours begin to swirl around Celtic, the links with players will be coming thick and fast.
Already we have had Fernando Henrique and Daizen Maeda being touted with a move to Paradise and it seems we need to strap ourselves in for the January window opening as the speculation will be through the roof.
As Ange Postecoglou looks to solve his defensive midfielder problem, it seems that with James McCarthy still on the treatment table and Bitton and Soro clearly not trusted to become first team picks, the holding midfield role is an area the Celtic boss needs to strengthen and quick.
Indications are that Postecoglou would prefer to push Callum McGregor further forward as Nir Bitton’s substitute appearance showed on Tuesday afternoon, but to allow him to do that he needs to find a player he can trust to support his back line.
One player he should look at is Sergi Samper of Vissel Kobe. And I found a brilliant article here detailing the rise and fall of one of Spain’s most exciting prospects.
Samper was once lauded on the Spanish scene when he broke through the Barcelona youth ranks, where he joined at the age of six.
He was the first ever player to make his debut for the Catalan giants without playing for any other club.
His coaches at the time, Sergi Domenech once described him as, “For me Samper isn’t just a footballer, he is the ultimate footballer”.
Samper was part of a Barcelona youth team which won the title of “Best U15 side in the world” back in 2010.
But under Portuegese legend, Eusebio, Sampers career began to stall.
As Barcelona B found themselves plying their trade in the Spanish third tier, Samper stayed with the Nou Camp reserves until he was eventually loaned to Granada in 2016, then onto Las Palmas two seasons later until he finally found himself at Vissel Kobe on free in 2019.
Like Jota, Samper needed to kick start his career and he found happiness in the J League beside his friend Kyogo Furuhashi and he took to Instagram to celebrate scoring his very impressive first goal for Kobe in 2019:
Valued at less than £1m (Transfermarkt) it seems this could be a relatively low cost, low risk signing that could pay high dividends on and off the park.
This article was originally posted here