J-League club Yokohama Marinos have confirmed that they are bidding to resign star midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura from the Scottish champions Celtic.
"We have made an offer to Nakamura and Celtic to acquire him," a spokesman for the Yokohama club said. "We would like to begin negotiations as soon as possible so that we can bring good news to his fans in Japan."
Nakamura, 30, has indicated he could return to his native Japan for family and personal reasons when his contract expires at the end of this season. Yokohama Marinos president Masaharu Saito hopes to cut a deal as early as next week, the Nikkei business daily said. "I believe he can accept our sincerity," Saito was quoted by the daily as saying.
However, Celtic manager Gordon Strachan has said he wants Nakamura to stay with the Bhoys. The playmaker joined Celtic in July 2005 after three seasons with Italian club Reggina. He is hoping to help the Glasgow giants to a fourth consecutive SPL title in what many expect to be his farewell season at Parkhead.
Yokohama Marinos, which ended last season a mediocre ninth in the nation's premier league, had twice previously tried in vain to resign Nakamura, who began his career with the club, spending five years there between 1997 and 2002.