Schalke claim Celtic were "desperate" to land £3.4m-rated centre-back Ko Itakura
Celtic were “desperate” to sign Manchester City centre-back Ko Itakura before he sealed a move to Schalke on loan, according to the Euro club.
Itakura was said to have been one of the options being eyed up by the Hoops for a summer transfer. After impressive performances at the Olympics followed a successful loan spell with Groningen, it looked an ideal move for the Hoops.
Instead, however, we recruited Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers to add to our centre-back options instead. Itakura, meanwhile, signed for Schalke on a season-long loan deal.
The Japanese international could well be in Germany for the long-term too. The Bundesliga 2 side have the option to sign him permanently for only £3.4m [Daily Record]. And as he gets off to a promising start at his new club, Schalke believe Celtic were itching to sign their new man.
As quoted by the Record, sporting director Rouven Schroeder said: “It took a lot of patience to sign him from Manchester City.
“For example, Celtic had tracked him for a year and were desperate to sign him, but we managed to beat them to it. We had to wait and wait and the deal could not be completed until the Olympic football tournament had finished which probably helped us.
“But it was worth it in the end and has been a fantastic signing for us.”
Celtic didn’t appear to make their move for Ko Itakura
There was no news of Celtic actually making an offer for Itakura. So to say the club was “desperate” to bring him in feels like a stretch.
Celtic have a lot more to offer than Schalke do right now. Especially considering they’re in the Bundesliga 2 division. Had Itakura been presented with a hard offer from the Hoops, would he really have turned it down? It feels unlikely given the European exposure he would’ve been given.
It’s easy to look at our current defensive issues and be filled with regret. After all, that’s easy to do when you consider the goals we’re conceding. But there’s hardly any guarantee that Itakura was going to be the answer either.
Celtic fans will still give their new centre-back partnerships some time to settle. As of yet, we don’t have a pairing that can be relied upon. But it takes time in order to build a level of trust and understanding.
We could never have expected Starfelt, for example, to just come in and instantly click with Welsh. Seldom does that happen. But Ange Postecoglou will need to find his best partnership and stick with it. Only by doing that will a greater chemistry grow within the pair.
Defensive issues continue to persist, but nobody is ruing not signing Itakura. Not yet at least.
In other news, Joe Hart was left blown away by the Celtic support yesterday