Celtic have reportedly been handed a potential boost to their chances of securing a transfer deal for Manchester City defender Ko Itakura.
According to a recent report from BILD (via Daily Express) the Manchester club are looking to bump up their £5m price tag for the defender this summer, which could put an end to Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach’s pursuits of Itakura.
This could therefore give the Hoops the green light to launch a move to sign the Japanese international.
Having started his career in Japan, the 25-year-old signed for City during the 2019 January transfer window.
In his 31 league appearances in 2021/22, the defender racked up the second-highest number of interceptions (38) and the third-highest number of successful tackles (31) in Schalke’s squad.
He also ended the campaign with the third-highest average of clearances per game (3.0) at the club, once again highlighting his defensive talents, in addition to being described as being “incredibly fast” by Hans Kraay Jr.
This shows that he certainly played a big part in getting the club back to Germany’s top division.
Taking into account how the Bhoys have been linked with the City outcast since the last summer, it would surely have Ange Postecoglou buzzing if the club are finally able to get the player through the door at Parkhead this summer.
Bearing in mind how the Hoops boss has brought in several Japanese players since his arrival at the club such as Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi, this could make it easier for Itakura to settle into life at Celtic if he were to make a move there in the coming weeks.
Also, with the Hoops having made deals with the Manchester club in the past over players such as Patrick Roberts, Jason Denayer and Dedryck Boyata, this connection between the two sides could give the Hoops an advantage when it comes to potentially working out a move for Itakura.
Moving forward, if the two German clubs are out of the race to sign the centre-back this summer, then Celtic should have no doubts over launching a move to strike a deal for him.