Daizen Maeda was key for Celtic on Saturday as the Bhoys defeated Livingston by three goals to nil at the Tony Macaroni Arena. The Japan internationalist deservedly netted late on to round off the 3-0 triumph.
Indeed Sutton compared the bargain they got the attacker for to that of the £50,000 that was spent on Didier Agathe in the year 2000. He said (Football Scotland): “A lot of people will point to the £50,000 it cost to sign Agathe being an incredible bit of business. But to land Maeda for just over a million looks like the steal of the century. He’s about three or four signings rolled into one. What a bit of business.”
The majority of Celtic’s signings who came from Japan have turned out to be hugely successful and for their prices, sheer bargains. Maeda is no different, and one cannot fault his work rate.
In games, the 25-year-old is a constant ball of energy. His style of play is similar to Agathe’s, according to Sutton. He said: “I get the Agathe comparisons, sometimes the final ball is not quite there. But like him, you simply cannot fault his phenomenal output and his worth to the team. Maeda’s teammates must love him – but opposition players will hate him.”
So too does Sutton, who believes the Irishman wouldn’t go wrong if all of his outfield players were clones of the Japanese attacker: “If you had 10 Maedas in the team you wouldn’t go wrong. He must be a total nightmare for defenders. He literally never stops. He was RELENTLESS for 90-odd minutes at Livingston and still had the power and pace to beat his man for his goal after giving him a head start.”
Under Ange Postecoglou, Maeda was one of the first names on the team sheet. Things are no different now that Rodgers is at the helm, with the treble-winning champions’ number 38 a key contributor already under the 50-year-old.