Celtic’s summer business plans are beginning to take shape as the club keep adding more players to their transfer short list for this summer. Manager Ange Postecoglou is keen on defensive additions for next season as the Celts hope to move ahead of their arch-rivals. According to reports, Manchester City defender Ko Itakura is the latest addition on Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou’s transfer wish list for the summer.
The Japanese international was on loan at Eredivisie side FC Groningen for the last 18 months and returned to his parent club last month when his contract expired. The 24-year-old centre-back joined Manchester City back in 2019 from J1 League club Kawasaki Frontale. After signing for the Premier League giants, he was deployed to the Dutch side to earn some experience.
With only a year left in his contract, Celtic are interested in signing Ko Itakura to add more power in the backline. Reports have confirmed Celtic’s move for the Japanese youngster. The centre-back is viewed as one of the priorities for Celtic as far as the summer transfer window is concerned.
He had a solid spell last season and featured as a regular starter for FC Groningen. He featured in 34 games for the Dutch side in the Eredivisie and had a solid spell last season which has seem him linked with Celtic this summer.
Also, Celtic boss Postecoglou is well aware of the potential of Ko Itakura in the defensive line having known all about the player from his time at Yokohama F. Marinos. Postecoglou knows what to expect from the 24-year-old which is why this move makes all the more sense.
Ex-Premier League goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, speaking to Football Insider after reports of Celtic ‘s interest in Ko Itakura has urged new manager to use his previous connections with City Football group to pull off a move or two like this.
“I think it makes sense, 100 per cent,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.
“I think if that is one of the reasons that Celtic are looking to bring him in then that’s a smart move.
“It could be interesting to see if Celtic can get a couple through those connections.
“Hopefully they can strengthen the squad ahead of next season because I think they [City Football Group] have got four or five clubs now.”
Where does it stand for Celtic?
Celtic are expecting a return for Erik Sviatchenko from Midtjylland this summer, against whom they face off in an all important Champions League play off round clash.
The wing-backs Jonjoe Kenny and Diego Laxalt are two players leaving the Celtic camp and heading back to their parent clubs Everton and AC Milan respectively.
Celtic are watching out a couple of players as the secondary projects for the summer transfer window. Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy is one of them. The experience of the Shanghai Port player can be useful in the squad for Postecoglou. Along with Mooy, Bologna left-back Aaron Hickey is another player on the radar for the Hoops and seems close to a move according to reports.
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There are also reports regarding Celtic’s interest in Sheffield United’s George Baldock and Ecuador international Piero Hincapie. But, the case of Hincapie, Celtic seem to have been dealt a blow as the player seems close to a move to Lazio this summer. Meanwhile the signing of defender Osaze Urhoghide for a fee of £200,000 has been announced by Celtic recently.
Additionally, Celtic are also closing in on a deal for Hajduk Split defender Mario Vuskovic. The 19-year-old seems to be a promising option for the Hoops and could boost their defensive options significantly. But that won’t be enough for Postecoglou and his team and their upcoming challenges with star defender Ajer linked to a £10m move to the Premier League, Scott Brown and Shane Duffy no longer there and Tom Rogic also linked with a move away.
Postecoglou will look to get his team ready for the Champions League qualifying rounds and the new Parkhead boss has quite a lot a lot on his hands that needs to be looked at before the start of the season.