Report: Schalke now struggling to afford Ko Itakura after claiming Celtic wanted him

By David Walton

May 17, 2022

Bundesliga side Schalke are now struggling to afford 2021 Celtic target Ko Itakura on a permanent basis, according to German newspaper WAZ.

The report claims that Itakura, who has spent the 2021/22 campaign on loan in Germany, would cost £5.5m this summer as part of Schalke’s option-to-buy clause. But it’s said the club doesn’t have the money to match that figure at the moment.

WAZ claims that Schalke are struggling financially despite their promotion to the Bundesliga. The club also has obligations in place to sign 3 players permanently this summer outside of the Japanese international.

Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

These transfers will leave little room for other business to be done. The newspaper reports that Schalke are therefore currently trying to sell players in order to afford Itakura.

This could be of interest to Celtic, who were linked with the player in 2021. Schalke even stated themselves that the Hoops had tracked the player for a year and were “desperate” to sign him last summer [Daily Record].

Celtic are reportedly in the market for a ball-playing centre-back this year irrespective of whether Cameron Carter-Vickers joins permanently from Tottenham Hotspur or not [The Athletic].

Ange outlines early transfer intentions as YOU have your say on Celtic’s title win

Ange outlines early transfer intentions as YOU have your say on Celtic’s title win
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Ko Itakura to Celtic could become a potential option once more

There have been no reports crediting Celtic with an interest in 2022 just to be clear. However, if we’re going to be adding another body in at centre-back, it would make sense to take another look at this. Especially if it was a player we were apparently so keen to bring in less than 12 months ago.

Schalke’s option to buy doesn’t mean that the centre-back now becomes their property. We can still launch our own bid if interested and look to give Itakura something else to think about. With UEFA Champions League qualification sewn up, both the cost and attracting the interest of the player shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

The Japanese star has just come off a fine season with the newly-promoted side. Itakura started all but one of the club’s Bundesliga 2 fixtures as he helped Schalke to title-winning success.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

In addition to that, the Manchester City-owned star has experience with Groningen in the Netherlands and also featured for Kawasake Frontale in Japan – Reo Hatate’s former club.

City are clearly open to offers, and if it’s a player that Ange admires then it would make sense to reignite any interest we previously had. It doesn’t look like this is going to be as smooth for Schalke as they would’ve liked.

As always, we’ll keep you updated on any progress here.

In other news, “Did everything for me”; Liel Abada speaks out after Nir Bitton leaves Celtic