Celtic boss Postecoglou reveals he ‘tried’ to sign ‘top’ Brighton player now linked with Man Utd

Jason Soutar
Former Celtic target Kaoru Mitoma celebrates his goal with his Brighton teammates

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has revealed that he “tried” to sign reported Man Utd target Kaoru Mitoma before he joined Brighton.

Mitoma made the move from Kawasaki Frontale to the Amex in August 2021 for a measly €3million.

He was instantly loaned out to Belgian side Union Saint Gilloise, where he scored eight goals and provided four assists in 29 appearances across all competitions.

The Japanese winger made his Premier League debut on matchday two of the 2022-23 Premier League season, coming off the bench during a 0-0 draw against Newcastle United.

Mitoma didn’t start a single top-flight encounter under Graham Potter but has become a vital player for Brighton since Roberto De Zerbi joined the club in September 2022.

His performances have been nothing short of outstanding as he has quickly established himself as one of the most dangerous wingers in England.

The 25-year-old was once again on the scoresheet on Saturday as Brighton snatched a point late on at home to Brentford, taking his goal tally to ten for the season.

Having scored ten goals and provided six assists across all competitions this term, Mitoma is attracting interest from the likes of Man Utd and Chelsea.

It could have been very different for Mitoma, however, who was a Celtic target once upon a time.

Hoops boss Postecoglou has heavily invested in the Japanese market since moving to Parkhead and was interested in signing Mitoma before he joined Brighton.

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Postecoglou won the Scottish Premiership in his first season in charge and is on course to make it two in a row and his Japanese contingent has been a huge part of his success.

Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate have all starred under the Australian manager after making the move from Asia, and speaking to the press this weekend, Postecoglou has revealed Mitoma could have been a Bhoy.

“I tried to get him here but it was already almost done for him to go to Brighton,” the Celtic manager said.

“Him and Kyogo were the first two players I tried to bring across.

“Mitoma would have been a good signing but, unfortunately for us, Brighton also have a very good scouting network.

“They managed to pick him up and there was never any doubt in my mind that he was one who was going to be a top player.

“He has done really well down there, which hasn’t surprised me.”

Postecoglou added: “Reo got into professional football late after being at university, he didn’t make his debut until he was 21.

“He and Mitoma broke through at the same time. They were both outstanding from the first time they started playing.”

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