japan star could stay

Nakamura still to make decision on Celtic future

February 19, 2009

Shunsuke Nakamura could yet be a Celtic player next season after claiming he has yet to make final decision over his future.

Midfielder Nakamura appeared certain to end his four-year stay with the Scottish champions when his contract expires in the summer and return to his native Japan.

The 30-year-old was thought to want to go home both for family reasons and because of the stress of regularly travelling to Asia for international matches.

But he insists he will not decide whether to stay or go before the destiny of the Premier League title is known.

He told Celtic's website: "It is a possibility to go back to Japan at the end of the season. But for now I only want to concentrate on winning the title - before I decide what I will do.''

Nakamura's first professional club, Yokohama Marinos, have been trying for more than a year to lure the player back.

Main sponsor Nissan Motors had been ready to bankroll his return during the January transfer window, but a downturn in the company's finances scuppered any bid to buy the player.

Nakamura would be available for free in the summer, when Yokohama are finally expected to make their move.

Whatever happens, Nakamura will look back with pride on his time at Celtic, who he joined from Reggina in 2005.

"I know that if foreign players go to a club and don't perform well they can be transferred,'' he said. "I feel very proud to have been here for four years and to have played so many games.

"Every year, because the manager and chairman wanted to keep me here, I just wanted to do my best to win the title. I always want to show the club I'm with is the best.''