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Nakamura to stay a Celt until end of season

2 December 2008 20:30

GLASGOW (AFP) - Shunsuke Nakamura will stay with Celtic until the end of the season rather than returning to Japan permanently in January following the Scottish champions' exit from European competition.

According to reports in the Scottish media, Nakamura's agent Roberto Takuda has informed Celtic that his client will not be the subject of a January bid from J-League club Yokohama F Marinos, as had been anticipated.

Celtic would have insisted on a fee to release the 30-year-old and, with Yokohama's backers Nissan feeling the pinch from the economic downturn, the Japanese club are reportedly prepared to wait until the playmaker become a free agent at the end of the season.

The Glasgow club confirmed on Tuesday that neither party wanted to cut ties at present.

"Celtic didn't want Naka to leave and Naka didn't want to leave. Therefore, there was never any prospect of Shunsuke leaving in January," a Celtic statement read.

Celtic's interest in European competition ended last week after a defeat by Danish side Aalborg condemned them to finishing last in their Champions League group.

Nakamura, who has helped Celtic win three Scottish titles since arriving at Parkhead in 2005, refused to comment on his future in the aftermath of that defeat, fuelling a belief he would quit Glasgow for Japan in time for the start of the new J-League season in March.

Celtic boss Gordon Strachan however has repeatedly voiced confidence that the left-footed star would stay until May and possibly even longer.

"I don't think the fact we are no longer in Europe alters things one little bit in respect of Naka," Strachan said earlier this week. "You have never seen a happier man than him in training."

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