Cherries linked with move for Japan international Ko

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Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth..
Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth..

CHERRIES are battling fellow newly-promoted Fulham to sign Japan international Ko Itakura, according to Sky Sports.

Itakura is contracted to Manchester City having joined from Kawasaki Frontale in January 2019, but is yet to make his debut for the club.

The 25-year-old has spent the past three years out on loan, at FC Groningen in Eredivisie, before a switch to Schalke in Germany's second tier last summer.

Itakura featured in 31 of Schalke's 34 matches, helping them clinch the title.

The Yokahama-born talent, who can play in central defence or midfield, has eight caps for Japan, which included two appearances at the 2019 Copa America.

He also featured regularly for Japan's lower age groups, notably the 2017 Under-20 World Cup, which was won by England, with Lewis Cook and Dominic Solanke playing starring roles.

Itakura caught the eye of Manchester City after winning the J1 League, the top tier in Japan, with Kawasaki in 2017.

Schalke are understood to have an option to purchase Itakura as part of the clause in his loan agreement.

But should he not move to Gelsenkirchen, German clubs Hoffenheim and Freiburg, as well as Fulham and Cherries are thought to be interested in the defender.

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