Report: Celtic considering move for Ko Itakura; Postecoglou knows him well

By David Walton

June 29, 2021

Celtic are eyeing up a move for Manchester City centre-back Ko Itakura, according to the Daily Record.

Itakura is currently contracted to be at City until the summer of 2022. Therefore, with only a year on his contract, Celtic could be able to bag a bargain.

The Japanese international spent last season on loan at Groningen in Holland. He featured 36 times last term and secured 12 clean sheets [Transfermarkt].

New Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou will know Itakura well. The player was part of J-League rivals Kawasake Frontale and Vegalta Sendai whilst Ange was in charge of Yokohama F.Marinos.

Yokohama are part of the City Football Group, the same organisation that administers Man City. Therefore, Postecoglou may already be set to use his contacts.

As things stand, the Record reports that Itakura is high on a list of potential centre-back options. The Japanese 24-year-old also has experience in the past in a holding midfield role.

Celtic bagging Ko Itakura would say a lot about current priorities

It’s interesting that Celtic are still being linked with another centre-back given the Mario Vuskovic situation. It’s been stated by Croatian media that Vuskovic is set to sign for the Hoops in the coming days [Sportske Novosti].

But it looks as though the new man isn’t satisfied there. The desire to bring in Itakura or another centre-back option shows how big a priority that position is for Ange.

And rightly so. Say we only bring in Vuskovic. That still hardly gives Celtic any leeway. Assuming Ajer stays (for now), one injury and we’re having to use Stephen Welsh in UCL qualifiers. A player who still has a bit to go before he reaches that level.

Ko Itakura in action for Japan (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

That’s not even mentioning what could possibly happen should Ajer be sold. It seems inevitable that the Norwegian will depart Parkhead this season and look for a bigger move. When he gets it, it could leave Celtic with a big centre-back shortage.

So getting two of them in before FC Midtjylland would be a big boost for the Hoops. It would be a handy signal of intent to go along with the freshness of actually getting business done early.

We’ll see whether we actually move for Itakura in particular. But if we fail to bag him, it looks as though Postecoglou will be looking at alternatives for a position he knows he needs bodies in.

In other news, the new Celtic CEO already has the Scottish press absolutely rattled.