Celtic are reportedly set to rekindle their interest in Japanese defender Ko Itakura, according to the latest reports.
As per Sky Sports, the 25-year-old – who is on the books at Manchester City – is one of the players that the Scottish Champions are ‘monitoring’, having previously been linked with the versatile centre-back last year.
The report suggests that no contact has been made as yet regarding a potential deal, although the Old Firm outfit are keen to bolster their defensive ranks, even if Cameron Carter-Vickers signs on a permanent deal.
The report goes on to add that Schalke – where the eight-cap international spent the most recent campaign – have an option to buy the Yokohama-born ace, although are said to be ‘struggling’ to meet the £6m asking price.
The German outfit are no doubt keen to secure his services permanently following his key role in the club’s return to the Bundesliga, although their inability to pay the required fee may work in Postecoglou’s favour, with both he – and the Glasgow-based side – having strong links with the City Football Group.
Should Itakura make the move to Parkhead in the upcoming window, the club would be gaining a real hidden gem, with Dutch pundit Haans Kray naming him as “one of the very best central defenders in the Eredivisie” following an impressive 18-month loan stint at Groningen.
Their loss could well be Celtic’s gain then, with the club potentially able to form a mouthwatering duo of the £10k-per-week sensation and the aforementioned Carter-Vickers, should the USA international see his loan move made permanent.
The 24-year-old has formed what has been dubbed an “immense” partnership by pundit Chris Sutton with Carl Starfelt this term, although there are doubts over the latter man’s quality, with the Swede coming in for criticism from pundit Michael Stewart.
In Itakura then, Postecoglou could well have the ideal player to fill in alongside Carter-Vickers, having been praised for his “calm” manner by former Schalke coach Dimitrios Grammozis – a trait that could well prove useful in what is an at times hectic team at Celtic Park.