Date: 22nd June 2009 at 9:07am
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Yokohama Marinos have announced Shunsuke Nakamura has rejected the chance to sign for them in favour of a move to Spanish side Espanyol when his Celtic contract expires at the end of the month.

Nakamura’s return to former club Yokohama had been widely-assumed for some time, but talks stalled due to ‘unforeseen problems’ even though the 30-year-old midfielder had previously spoken of wanting to move back to Japan in order to raise his family.

According to Japan Today, Yokohama offered Nakamura a two-and-a-half-year deal with an annual wage of 150million yen, while Espanyol offered ?1.2million (164 yen). The similarity between the two offers suggests Nakamura’s decision may have come down to other details, such as image rights.

There’s no doubt securing Nakamura will work wonders for Espanyol off-the-pitch (perhaps even better than on the pitch at this stage in his career) as Celtic received a massive boost in the Far East market when he joined from Reggina in 2005.

Nakamura, who turns 31 on Wednesday (June 24) will leave Celtic with the blessing of fans, although the fans would be forgiven for thinking “how much more could he have achieved under a manager who used different tactics to Gordon Strachan”.

On a side note, the collapse of the Yokohama switch may be due, in part at least, to the global economic downturn. There were reports in January that the club wanted to sign Nakamura during the last transfer window but opted to wait until his contract expired in the summer.

Yokohama’s parent company are Nissan, and it’s no secret that the car industry has been hit hard by the global recession and it’s interesting to note that while Real Madrid are blowing £137million or so on two players, not every club can be so carefree. Or, at least, that’s one theory about Nakamura’s move.

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