Celtic are in talks with Manchester City over a loan deal for an international defender…
According to The Express, Celtic are in talks with Manchester City over a potential deal for central defender Ko Itakura.
The report claims Ange Postecoglou is keen to bring the Japan international to Scotland, but the sticking point currently is that the Premier League side are demanding a sizeable loan fee for the defender. Talks are ongoing, however, and Itakura will only be willing to make a decision about his future following the end of his involvement at the Olympics.
Celtic should be looking to get a deal over the line for Itakura in the coming weeks as Postecoglou desperately needs reinforcements at centre-back. The Hoops were knocked out of the Champions League on Wednesday night and Stephen Welsh produced a disappointing display at the heart of the defence.
Welsh only won two duels in the entire match, playing 120 minutes, and lost possession of the ball 12 times. He was given a SofaScore rating of 6.4 for his efforts, highlighting his struggles against Midtjylland.
This suggests that the Australian head coach is still in need of additions to his backline, which is where Itakura could come in.
The Manchester City man spent last season on loan to Groningen in the Eredivisie and caught the eye with some impressive displays. In 35 starts, he averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.12, making 4.2 clearances and 2.0 interceptions per game.
Former Dutch footballer Haans Kray heaped praise on the Japan international, pointing out his ability on the ball and his speed as some of his biggest strengths. He said: “One of the very best central defenders in the Eredivisie. He can play football well, he can head well and he is incredibly fast. He’s such a good player but Manchester City don’t see anything in him.”
The £10k-per-week enforcer would, therefore, be a strong player to add to the defensive mix at Celtic Park to help aid their woes at the back.
He has shown that he can play well at a respectable level in the Netherlands and is a full international for Japan, which suggests that he is ready to perform in the Scottish Premiership.
Therefore, Celtic should be working hard to get this over the line and to add Itakura to Postecoglou’s ranks as the boss needs him next season.
If Celtic are going to compete for the title, they need as many good players as they can get their hands on and the Japanese defender falls into that category.