• Kyodo

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Italian first-division club Reggina said Monday they have reached a basic agreement with Scottish powerhouse Celtic on a transfer of Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura.

According to sources familiar with the talks between both clubs, Celtic still wants to work out details of the contract for Nakamura, whose current deal with Reggina runs through June next year.

Reggina held talks with several other clubs, with the strongest bid originally said to have come from a Spanish top-division side, but eventually turned to Celtic, which reportedly offered a transfer fee of £2.7 million (about 540 million yen), the sources said.

Earlier this month, the Press Association of Britain quoted Reggina press officer Daniele Rindone as saying the Italian club and Celtic were close to agreeing on a fee for Nakamura.

People close to Nakamura said the 27-year-old initially wished to move to Spain and was linked with such Primera Liga sides as Deportivo La Coruna and Atletico Madrid early at the close of the season. Reggina, however, accepted none of the offers from Spain, including those for loan contracts.

Nakamura played a pivotal role in Japan’s successful qualifying campaign for a place in next year’s World Cup finals in Germany.

He also impressed at the Confederations Cup in Germany last month, helping Japan beat European champions Greece 1-0 and hold world champions Brazil to a 2-2 draw.

Nakamura produced a dazzling display in the Brazil match, scoring a superb long-range effort to pull Japan back into the game and hitting the post from a free kick before substitute Masashi Oguro snapped up the rebound.

Nakamura’s play in the Confederations Cup reportedly prompted new Celtic manager Gordon Strachan to move to acquire his services.

Nakamura joined Reggina from J. League club Yokohama F. Marinos in the summer of 2002 with a transfer fee of 420 million yen after making 148 league appearances and scored 33 goals for F. Marinos.

The 2000 J. League player of the year has played for his country 53 times with 13 goals.

In three seasons with Reggina, Nakamura played in 80 Serie A matches and scored 11 goals.

In the 2004-2005 season, he appeared in 33 league games and scored two goals to help them stay in the top flight.

Verdy ink Vadao

Struggling J. League first-division club Tokyo Verdy announced Monday the appointment of Brazilian manager Vadao to take over from Osvaldo Ardiles, who was sacked last week.

Vadao, 48, leaves Brazilian championship leaders Ponte Preta to join Verdy under a deal that runs through the end of this season and is expected to join his new team at a training camp early next month.

Terms of the deal were not immediately known.

Verdy dismissed Ardiles after his side’s poor run, during which they conceded 23 goals in five matches and slipped to second to last place in the 18-team top flight.

The Argentine took over at Verdy in June 2003 and steered them to the Emperor’s Cup title on New Year’s Day this year.

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