The Ange Postecoglou agent factor that could help a Celtic pursuit of £5.5m defender

By John McGinley

June 5, 2022

The Celtic interest in Ko Itakura ahead of the summer transfer window is no surprise.

His was a name regularly linked with a switch to the Bhoys in 2021, before deciding to join Schalke on a season-long loan-to-buy deal.

Now, having confirmed he is leaving the German club, Celtic are again having a look at his situation according to Sky Sports.

Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Schalke wanted to keep the Japanese international, but couldn’t come up with the £5.5m it would take to land him from Manchester City. For that kind of price, Celtic could well be tempted to bite on the 25-year-old.

Celtic have a couple of advantages when it comes to pursuing his signature.

The most obvious is the presence of Mark Lawwell at the Bhoys after his long spell at the City Group. Not only will Lawwell have an existing relationship with Itakura, but also the key negotiating personnel at City.

Less obvious may well be the most significant link – he shares representation with manager Ange Postecoglou. Itakura is also looked after by the CAA Base agency, which is one of the biggest in the world. [Instagram]

CAA Base have Matt O’Riley in their stable too, whose move to Celtic from MK Dons was made to look very easy in January.

Frank Trimboli, a long-time Postecoglou ally and the man behind the manager’s move to the Bhoys in the first place, is ‘Head of Football’ at the organisation.

Charlie Nicholas told an interesting anecdote in that regard back in February, when he claimed in his column: “When I asked him about the signing of Matt O’Riley, he simply pointed to his agent and said, ‘This is my agent and that is what I advised him to do.’ Ange goes with his instincts and his passion. It’s a bit old school. He is sorting out the issues and just getting on with the job.”

That’s not to say Postecoglou can click his fingers and make any Itakura deal happen. Transfers are complicated affairs involving the will of clubs and the players themselves.

The defender might not want a move to Glasgow or Celtic may not want to pay the money. Postecoglou’s decisions are always based on football and character.

However, in modern football, relationships with agencies are key when you find a player you want. In fact, the workings of these large agent groups are incredibly influential in the game. Who you know is a massive part of it. Ange, and in turn Celtic, are linked up.

Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Itakura or Harwood-Bellis at Celtic?

Taylor Harwood-Bellis, also at City, is another defender being tracked by Celtic according to Sky Sports. Ultimately it could be a one or the other situation if the Bhoys manage to land Cameron Carter-Vickers.

Itakura is undoubtedly the more experienced of the two, but that is likely to come with a price tag.

As friend of the site @WuAnalysis pointed out on Twitter earlier, the Japanese talent may well be sold because of new FIFA rules regarding the number of players that can be loaned out.

These rules don’t apply to ‘club-trained’ players, meaning Harwood-Bellis is unlikely to be sold.

For Celtic it’s a tricky situation, do you go for an international talent who has Eredivisie, J-League and German second-tier action under his belt, or settle for the younger Harwood-Bellis even if you only get him for a season?

Either way, it’s one of the more intriguing Celtic transfer situations this summer. Lots more to come on this.

In other news, Report: Aberdeen move for Celtic’s Liam Scales could end up permanent.