Erlend Hanstveit, the Brann Bergen left-back, will today begin a week-long trial at Celtic as Gordon Strachan resumes his search for a solution to the club's long-standing problem position.

There was further pleasing news for Celtic fans yesterday when the club revealed Shunsuke Nakamura will remain until the end of the season after it emerged that Yokohama F Marinos will not submit a bid for him in January.

The 27-year-old Hanstveit is available for free in the January transfer window having expressing his desire to accept a new challenge after a 10-year association with the Norwegians.

At 6ft 2in, the player fits the physical profile for the kind of full-back Strachan wants to beef-up his unimposing side.

Hanstveit has four international caps for Norway and is famous in his homeland for rejecting the chance to sign for Manchester United as a teenager despite a personal invitation from Sir Alex Ferguson.

He has since become a stalwart for Brann, playing more than 200 games, and is also a senior figure in the Norwegian Players' Union.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have expressed interest in Hanstveit, who took part in an unsuccessful trial with the German Bundesliga side, Werder Bremen, last season, but the player's preference would be to follow in the footsteps of his countrymen Vidar Riseth and Harald Brattbakk.

Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive, has pledged money for the manager to spend in the January window. Hanstveit's availability could at least provide a cost-effective option and enable the club offload an unsettled and off-form Lee Naylor.

Naylor has failed to establish himself after promising first season. He has struggled to regain his form after a series of injuries and the manager has been more inclined to play Mark Wilson, a right-back, and even Barry Robson, a midfielder, than the Englishman. Celtic have also been linked with Barcelona's veteran Brazilian full-back, Sylvinho, and Paul Robinson, of West Bromwich Albion, but Hanstveit has a chance to stake his claim this week.

The news that Nakamura is staying until the end of the season is a huge boost to the Parkhead club as they bid to win their fourth title in a row.

The midfielder had been strongly linked with a return to the club where he started his career in the next transfer window. It had also been suggested that Celtic's elimination from Europe last week to BK Aalborg could hasten his departure, but the current economic conditions mean that Nissan, the parent company of Marinos, are not able to raise the required fee of around £3m.

Instead, they will hold off until the end of the season when Nakamura's Parkhead contract ends and they will be able to sign him for free. Roberto Tsukuda, the player's agent, was in Glasgow over the weekend to deliver the news to Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive.

Nakamura has spoken of his desire to return to Japan sooner rather than later for both professional and personal reasons. His involvement with the Japan national team means that he is frequently required to fly round the world for international matches and the exacting schedule has started to take its toll on him. His family are also keen to return to home, with his son due to start school in Japan in April 2009.

The 30-year-old has arguably been Strachan's most successful signing following his move from Reggina in 2005. The midfielder settled quickly in Scotland and won the Player of the Year award in his second season.

He has also scored iconic goals, including the famous free kick against Manchester United in November 2006, which took Celtic into the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time in their history.

His contributions this season and last have been curtailed by injury, but he has played through the pain barrier over the last month to score three goals in the last five games.