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Nakamura intends to stay at Celtic: report (SN)

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 23 May 2008

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Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura will stay on with Scottish Premier League champions Celtic, despite claims that he would return to his old J-League side next season, a press report said Friday.

After Celtic won their third straight title by beating Dundee United 1-0 away on Thursday, Nakamura “expressed his intention” to continue his career at Parkhead, Kyodo News reported.

He said Celtic had “gone as far as saying they won't let me go even if a team comes along with an offer of 1.5 or 1.6 billion yen (about 15 million dollars) so I think they have faith in me,” according to the report.

Kyodo did no carry any other direct quote from the 29-year-old to back up his alleged intention or indicate how much longer he would play for Celtic.

Nakamura, a former J-League Yokohama Marinos star, joined Celtic on a three-year contract in July 2005 after three seasons with Italian club Reggina. But Gordon Strachan's side has the option to extend the deal for another year.

“Since I have come to Celtic, we have won the championship the last three seasons running. I am playing regularly and feel I have made a bit of a contribution,” Nakamura told Kyodo.

Speculation has been rife in Japanese media in recent months about Nakamura's possible return to Yokohama.

Top Yokohama executives went to Glasgow last month to sound out the star and Celtic management on his possible return next January. The 2008 J-League season opened in March and will end in December.

Yokohama team director Kokichi Kimura told some Japanese media after returning home that he was convinced Nakamura would be back at the start of next year.

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