Report: Manchester City looking for high loan fee for Celtic target Ko Itakura

By Euan Davidson

July 22, 2021

Manchester City are willing to loan out Celtic target Ko Itakura, according to a report.

The Daily Record state that Ange Postecoglou remains keen on Itakura, 24, who is currently at the Olympics with Japan.

The report indicates that Manchester City are looking for a substantial fee for any potential loan deal, and that European clubs are interested. Itakura spent has spent the last two and a half seasons at Groningen, playing 59 times in total [Transfermarkt].

Born in Yokohama, Itakura has represented his country 5 times. He’ll be sure to build on those caps with Tokyo hosting this year’s Olympic Games, and Itakura being called up by Hajime Moriyasu [FIFA].

With the City Group connection, there’ll be hope Ange Postecoglou can negotiate a deal. The Celtic boss will be aware of Itakura, who played for Vegalta Sendai and Kawasaki Frontale in the J-League.

The Japanese centre-back had a very decent 20-21 with Groningen. He exhibited excellent reading of the game, with 2 interceptions per 90 [WhoScored?]. Additionally, his 4.2 clearances, 2.1 successful aerial duels and 88% pass success rate are all impressive. These are certainly attributes of an Ange Postecoglou centre-back.

Celtic shored up the signing of Carl Starfelt from Rubin Kazan last night. At a reported £4m, it’s an excellent deal, but the Bhoys definitely need options at centre-back.

Why a loan deal makes sense for Manchester City defender Ko Itakura

Yes, the loan system: it’s a pain.

And Celtic supporters would be forgiven for wondering who benefits long-term as we develop players for other clubs. However, Itakura on loan might be an inspired bit of business.

While undoubtedly he’d be an expensive purchase outright, a loan would ensure we have another high-quality defender, while allowing youngsters like Stephen Welsh and Dane Murray to develop. We also have Christopher Jullien waiting to come back from injury.

Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Osaze Urhoghide and even Liam Shaw can fill in when required. That’s a lot of young talent that is perhaps a little raw to be a weekly started for Celtic. Itakura, though, is a plug-in-and-play centre-back, who shone at a very decent standard last season.

With another year of semi-regular football under their belts, Welsh and Murray could be ready within two seasons. Welsh showed some real desire in 20-21, while Murray didn’t look out of place against FC Midtjylland.

Itakura, like Starfelt, is someone these guys can learn from. If that’s the worst-case scenario from a loan deal, it’s not a bad one. In the best-case scenario, we get regularly solid performances from an international centre-back.

It’s a deal that make sense.

In other news: A typically great rebuff from Celtic boss