Date: 14th June 2009 at 9:23am
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Reports claim Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura will decide against a return to Yokohama Marinos in favour of a move to Spanish side Espanyol.

According the the News of the World, Espanyol have offered Naka a two-year contract worth £23,000-a-week, with image rights. The reports goes on to suggest the Japan international had grown frustrated with former club Yokohama’s failure to close the deal, as well as demands they made on him.

The 30-year-old, who joined Celtic from Italian side Reggina for around £1.25million in July 2005, often brought a touch of sparkle to the bland version of football on display at Parkhead during the Strachan years.

However, while the report seems credible, it has been previously suggested that Nakamura’s family have already returned to Japan in anticipation of him signing a deal with Yokohama. That deal was rumoured to have almost gone through in January, but the global economic situation is thought to have caused a few problems.

And, on a final note, while it’s undeniable that Nakamura is a classy football who has given Celtic fans a lot of good memories, he turns 31 in 10 days, he has never been the strongest tackler in the world and his pace is perhaps not what it was.

It will be interesting to see who Tony Mowbray and the board (assuming he is named Celtic’s new boss shortly) sign to replace Naka – or whether they rely on the raw talent of countryman Koki Mizuno both on and off the pitch, in terms of playing ability and commercial worth in the Far Eastern market.

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