The Lowdown: Itakura profiled
The 25-year-old first joined the Sky Blues from Kawasaki Frontale back in January 2019, being loaned straight back out to FC Groningen and most recently returning to England from a season out at Schalke.
It was recently reported by the Daily Record that Hoffenheim are getting set to make a move for the centre-back after being impressed by what they saw from him last term.
The Japanese defender’s contract with City is set to expire in 2023, giving the player time to weigh up his options, and the Hoops could now be set to hijack Hoffenheim’s bid and bring him to the Scottish Premiership.
The Latest: Long-term admirers
Speaking to GiveMeSport, Joseph revealed that Celtic have been long-time admirers of Itakura and admitted that this wouldn’t be the first time they have tried to sign him. He said:
“Itakura is someone they’ve been tracking for quite some time and they wanted him in last season, actually, but he chose to go on loan to Schalke, and Celtic are back in the frame for him because Schalke weren’t able to pay the €6m option to buy. Celtic might look to do a loan with an option to buy there.”
The Verdict: Get it done
Last year, Itakura made 31 appearances in the German second tier and helped Schalke gain promotion back to the Bundesliga, and his performances clearly didn’t go unnoticed by Ange Postecoglou.
The Australian boss has recently secured the permanent signing of Cameron Carter-Vickers but must want to bolster his ranks further with another new addition at the heart of the backline, and the 12-cap international doesn’t appear to be a bad option to partner the former Spurs man.
Would Itakura be a good signing for Celtic?
Celtic might have a bit of digging their heels to do if they want to fend off their strong competitors abroad, but the opportunity to play Champions League football next season might just prove to be too good of an opportunity for Itakura to turn down.
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