Celtic insist Nakamura not for sale after talk of Bologna bid

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The Independent Football

Celtic have ruled out selling Shunsuke Nakamura after the Italian side Bologna were linked with a move for the Japanese playmaker.

The Scottish champions insist that Nakamura remains an integral part of their plans for the coming season, which will be his fourth at the club.

Bologna's club president, Alfredo Cazzola, was reported to have launched an attempt to buy Nakamura, but on Saturday night Celtic stressed they have not received an offer and would not encourage any interest from the Serie A outfit. A spokesman for the club said there had been no contact between Celtic and Bologna.

Even if Nakamura had been the subject of a firm offer, he would not necessarily have found the prospect of a return to Italy appealing. Since leaving Reggina to join Celtic in 2005, the 30-year-old has played the best football of his career and helped the Hoops win a hat-trick of league titles. In 2007 he was rewarded for an outstanding campaign with a clean sweep of the major player-of-the-season awards.

With Champions League football assured at Celtic for the coming season, it would be a major gamble for Nakamura to give that up to join a side freshly promoted to the Italian top flight.

Nakamura has also been linked with a return to Japanese football, with a transfer to his former J.League side Yokohama F Marinos a more likely option than a move to another European club at the end of his Celtic career.

Nakamura was overshadowed by his Celtic team-mate Aiden McGeady for much of last season, which was disrupted for the Japan international by injury. But as the campaign reached its crucial stages he began to rediscover his peak form, and his stunning goal against Rangers at Ibrox was among the highlights of the season for Gordon Strachan's side.

A spokesman for the SPL champions said: "We've never heard of the representative who has claimed Bologna has made an offer for Shunsuke Nakamura. We have not received any offer from Bologna or from any other club.

"In any case Naka is delighted to be staying with Celtic and that is what he will be doing."