Celtic are in talks with Manchester City to sign Ko Itakura, Ekrem Konur reports.
What’s the latest transfer news involving Ko Itakura?
The Calcio Pillole journalist took to Twitter to disclose that the Hoops are interested in signing the centre-back. He stated that the Bhoys have started ‘official talks’ not only with the club, but with the player as well.
“Celtic have started official talks with the player and Manchester City,” Konur said.
How did Itakura perform last season?
Itakura spent last season on loan at Dutch top flight side Groningen. He was a mainstay in the team, making 36 appearances in all competitions.
The Japanese international impressed in defence for the Eredivisie side. As shown by WhoScored, he averaged the second-most interceptions in the squad with two per game. He also ranked second when it came to clearances per game, with an average of 4.2.
The defender also stood out when it came to winning battles in the air. He took part in 125 aerial duels, and won 74 of them. Those statistics might well have caught the eye of Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou.
Will Celtic try to sign Itakura on loan or permanently?
Konur’s Tweet doesn’t mention if any deal for Itakura will be a loan or permanent move. But the 24-year-old’s contract situation suggests that a permanent deal would more make sense.
The player’s contract with the Premier League champions expires at the end of the season, meaning there is little value in a long-term loan from City’s perspective.
Celtic would probably also prefer that a permanent deal is done for the centre-back, who is rated as being worth £3.15m by Transfermarkt, to stop the club from having to search the market for another defender this time next year.
Should Itakura be a priority signing for Celtic?
Even though Celtic are seemingly looking for a centre-back, there are other areas of the squad which perhaps need dealing with first, full-back in particular.
As Transfermarkt shows, Celtic have more options at centre-back than at full-back. At the moment, the Hoops have four centre-backs in their squad. Christopher Jullien may be injured, but midfielder Nir Bitton can replace him and make the numbers up to four.
At full-back meanwhile, the Hoops have three left-backs and two-right-backs. The right-back situation is a concern when you consider that one of the two – Lee O’Connor – has yet to play a first-team game for Celtic.
At left-back, meanwhile, Greg Taylor is the only No.3 to start competitively for Celtic this season, which says all about Boli Bolingoli and teenager Adam Montgomery.
You can never have enough centre-backs in a squad, but the full-back area currently looks like a more pressing one at Celtic Park.