Takefusa Kubo will not be joining Celtic this summer with the Real Madrid youngster instead sealing a loan move to Villarreal, as confirmed via the Yellow Submarine’s official website.
After rapidly outgrowing the relatively small pond that was a relegated Real Mallorca side in 2019/20, the test is now whether this so-called ‘Japanese Messi’ can influence games at a much higher level.
Celtic were linked with a short-term loan move for Kubo by AS in May.
But despite interest from PSG, Ajax, AC Milan and the Scottish Premiership champions, the 19-year-old whizzkid will be wearing the yellow of Villarreal in 2020/21.
“They’re a team that have the ball a lot and dominate games a lot. I’ve suffered playing against them as an opponent and now I want to enjoy this style of playing as a footballer,” says the supremely-gifted Kubo, who looks a perfect fit for Unai Emery’s possession-based style.
“Villarreal are a very big club with excellent players. I have to enjoy having competition, which makes everyone better. It’s a team sport and everyone will pull in the same direction.”
After flirting with relegation in recent seasons, the Castellon side were a team transformed in recent months, finishing fifth in La Liga and qualifying for the Europa League.
But with talismanic playmaker Santi Cazorla joining Xavi in Qatar, Kubo could have very big shoes to fill in his new surroundings.
Having been described as an ‘immense talent‘ by the legendary Andres Iniesta, he should have little trouble making the step up look easy.
“He’s a young player with a lot of talent. At 19, he already has experience in Japanese football and Spanish football too,” says president Fernando Roig.
“He’s a player that can offer us a lot and I’m sure he’ll help us to have a great season.”