Ko Itakura with options to ponder as Fulham, Bournemouth join suitors for Man City outcast

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Ko Itakura Schalke 2022 TEAMtalk1 Credit: PA Images
Ko Itakura Schalke 2022 TEAMtalk1 Credit: PA Images

Fulham and Bournemouth have joined Celtic in chasing Manchester City defender Ko Itakura who spent last season on loan with German club Schalke.

The 25-year-old has been on the City books since January 2019 but is yet to kick a ball for the champions. Immediately loaned to Eredivisie club Groningen for the second half of 2018-2019, he extended his stay in the Netherlands until summer 2021. The Japan international impressed in the Dutch top flight, making 59 appearances in all competitions for Trots van het Noorden.

However, any thoughts of a breakthrough at the Etihad were soon out of the window as he moved to of Gelsenkirchen last summer. And the former Kawasaki Frontale player further enhanced his reputation, helping Die Konigsblauen finish top of 2 Bundesliga.

They will play in Germany’s top division next term but Itakura is unlikely to be with them. Reports suggest the Veltins-Arena outfit want to keep him but are struggling to meet the £6m price tag City have placed on his head.

The way is therefore clear for the newly-promoted Premier League duo to swoop during the off-season.

Celtic are known to hold an interest. Ange Postecoglou guided the Bhoys to the Scottish Premiership title and is already looking to strengthen for 2022-2023.

But Sky Sports reporter Lyall Thomas feels there are plenty of options open for the Far East ace.

He tweeted: “Newly-promoted #FulhamFC and #Bournemouth are both chasing Ko Itakura from #ManCity.

“Did well on loan at #Schalke last season, who want him permanently. So do #Freiburg and #Hoffenheim though. Considering his options.”

Itakura versatility makes him Premier League target

The Yokohama-born star will return to Manchester City this summer but is unlikely to feature under Pep Guardiola.

The report suggests Freiburg and Hoffenheim are also keen. But the lure of the Premier League may be tough to resist.

Itakura is a manager’s dream as he is able to operate in central defence or as a holding midfield player. And he even managed to bag four goals for Schalke during the campaign just finished.

Neco Williams, Marco Silva Swansea v Fulham March 2022 Credit: PA Images
Neco Williams, Marco Silva Swansea v Fulham March 2022 Credit: PA Images

Both the Cottagers and Cherries know it will be tough to stay in England’s top division with the quality on show. And so an experienced stopper in his mid-20s might fit the bill.

Celtic will be able to offer European football and it will come down to his priorities for the next few years.

READ MORE: Gundogan still has questions to answer after addressing pros and cons of Man City decision

The article Ko Itakura with options to ponder as Fulham, Bournemouth join suitors for Man City outcast appeared first on Teamtalk.com.

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