Transfer News: Celtic keen on Man City defender Ko Itakura
Itakura came through the ranks at Japanese club Kawasaki Frontale and had a run in the senior team, while he also spent time with fellow J-League side Vegalta Sendai on loan. The centre-back was signed by Manchester City in January 2019, following which they immediately loaned him out to Dutch side FC Groningen.
Itakura has spent the entirety of the last two and a half seasons on loan with the Eredivisie outfit, racking up 59 appearances, bagging one goal and setting up another. The 24-year-old has also been capped five times by the Japanese national team so far. (h/t Transfermarkt)
Itakura’s loan deal with Groningen runs out at the end of the month, post which he will return to Manchester City. The Premier League champions could look to offload the Japanese international, who has only one year left on his contract. This has led to the interest from Celtic.
The Hoops, under new manager Ange Postecoglou, are looking at a major rejig of the squad, especially in the defensive department. A deal for Croatian starlet Mario Vuskovic is said to be close while Celtic are also considering re-signing former defender Erik Sviatchenko. (h/t Daily Record)
Itakura, too, has emerged as a transfer target as the Greek-Australian manager looks to shape the squad in his image. Postecoglou is said to be well aware of the 24-year-old’s capabilities from his time as a manager in the J-League with Yokohama F Marinos and is now keen on signing from Manchester City.
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With Kristoffer Ajer expected to leave, Celtic need reinforcements at the back. Itakura is coming on the back of a couple of impressive seasons with Groningen. He is someone that manager Postecoglou is aware of, while his ability to play in defensive midfield would further add value. A move for the 24-year-old would, thus, make sense for the Hoops.