Celtic transfer target Ko Itakura helps Japan to Thursday Olympics win

By John McGinley

July 22, 2021

Celtic target Ko Itakura starred for his country in the Olympics today, helping Japan to a 1-0 victory over South Africa.

Japan will be hoping to make a big impact on the Olympics tournament given their host status.

Today’s win against South Africa gives them a big boost towards progress from Group A. Though it has to be said, tougher matches against Mexico and France lie ahead.

As we discussed earlier today, Ange Postecoglou is said to hold an interest in Man City’s defensive talent Itakura.

However, they’re looking for a high loan fee due to interest from a number of European clubs.

He spent last season out on loan at Eredivisie side Groningen, catching the eye across 36 appearances in all competitions. [Transfermarkt]

Celtic have just signed Carl Starfelt from Rubin Kazan, replacing Kristoffer Ajer. But it’s commonly acknowledged that Celtic need at least one more centre-back in the door.

Clearly, Itakura won’t be arriving in Glasgow anytime soon. The Olympics tournament is due to run into early August and it’s unlikely the defender’s transfer future will be sorted while he’s in the athletes’ bubble over there. He’s also a key part of the team, starring alongside Sampdoria’s Maya Yoshida.

Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Celtic badly need defensive options in the door, so the club might want to move for another target who can come in and hit the ground running immediately.

Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on Itakura’s progress with Japan and whether or not he emerges as a stand-out performer in the competition.

He has a very interesting profile and, with less than a year left on his contract, could well be attainable.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou’s brilliant praise for Celtic supporters; sounds like he’s in love already.