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Celtic: Anthony Joseph drops Ko Itakura update

There has been a fresh development in Celtic‘s pursuit of Manchester City-owned defender Ko Itakura…

What’s the word?

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, Sky Sports journalist Anthony Joseph offered the Hoops renewed hope regarding a deal, having revealed that they are now “back in the frame” for the Japan international.

He said: “Itakura is someone they’ve been tracking for quite some time and they wanted him in last season, actually, but he chose to go on loan to Schalke, and Celtic are back in the frame for him because Schalke weren’t able to pay the €6m option to buy. Celtic might look to do a loan with an option to buy there.”

Is Itakura the answer for Celtic?

Yes!

Yes!

No!

No!

The Old Firm outfit have been heavily linked with a swoop for the 25-year-old – whose contract expires next summer – in recent times, having first been tipped to make a move for the 12-cap gem last summer, prior to his eventual temporary switch to Schalke.

As Joseph alluded to, however, the versatile centre-back is not set to stay with the newly-promoted Bundesliga side next term, with the German outfit having confirmed that they cannot afford to pay the required fee.

Bye-Bye Jullien

It looks as if the Glasgow side could be set to prise yet another player from the Etihad, having previously brought in the likes of Patrick Roberts, Dedryck Boyata and Jeremie Frimpong – among others – from the Premier League champions over the years.

Like most on that list, however, Itakura can hardly even be considered a City player, having been shipped out on loan for the whole of his time at the club since joining from Kawasaki Frontale in January 2019.

Despite the lack of action at his parent club, the £3.15m-rated colossus has impressed during those temporary stints away from Manchester, first catching the eye at Dutch outfit Groningen, where he was dubbed “one of the very best central defenders in the Eredivisie” by pundit Haans Kray.

The most recent campaign saw him also flourish for Schalke in 2. Bundesliga, chipping in with four goals in his 31 league outings, while also averaging an impressive 1.4 interceptions, 1.4 tackles and three clearances, winning 61% of his total duels and enjoying a solid 87% pass accuracy rate.

His potential arrival could then ensure a departure for the Hoops’ current centre-back Christopher Jullien, with the Frenchman having fallen drastically out of favour since his return from injury at the turn of the year.

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First up in this Celtic transfer quiz, which club did Celtic sign Christopher Jullien from?

Despite his return to fitness, the 29-year-old only managed to make just a solitary appearance in all competitions under Ange Postecoglou, with the title-winning coach favouring the “immense” pairing – as dubbed by Chris Sutton – of Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers.

With the latter man recently putting pen to paper to turn his loan stint into a permanent move, Jullien is seemingly set to remain on the periphery, with the potential incoming of Itakura likely to be the final nail in the coffin, amid reports of a possible return to Ligue 1 for the former Toulouse man.

IN other news, Deal Imminent: Celtic “very close” to big summer move, it’d be Ange’s best swoop yet

Article title: Celtic: Anthony Joseph drops Ko Itakura update

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