Celtic’s defence has improved a lot over the course of the 2021/22 season. Not too long ago, it had been viewed as a major weakness for the club but following the arrival of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt and Josip Juranovic in the summer, they have taken massive steps in the right direction and can be considered as a formidable backline right now.
The club could still find themselves searching for a centre-back in the summer though. Christopher Jullien might potentially be on his way out of the club after struggling to break into Ange Postecoglou’s plans. On the other hand, Stephen Welsh does not look ready to be a regular in the first-team at this stage of his career.
Thus, it would not come as a massive surprise if Celtic do end up going after another centre-back in the summer and one player that they have been linked with for a while is Manchester City’s Ko Itakura.
They were believed to be interested in Itakura last summer as well but he ended up joining Schalke instead. The German club had an option to buy believed to be around €6 million but have decided against taking it. They confirmed on their official website:
After much deliberation, the club has decided not to activate their buy option for the defender.
Celtic handed major boost in transfer race for Itakura
Itakura enjoyed a great season with Schalke and played a key part in their promotion back to the Bundesliga. But the club are not believed to be in the best financial situation at the moment, thus, it was always expected to be difficult for them to sign the Japanese star on a permanent basis.
This is an opportunity for Celtic to try and finally get a deal for Itakura over the line. It has been rumoured that Manchester City are ready to let him leave on a permanent basis this summer.
Of course, there is plenty of interest in the player’s signature, which will make things harder for Celtic. Premier League clubs like Fulham and Bournemouth, and Bundesliga clubs like SC Freiburg and Hoffenheim have also been linked with a move for Itakura in recent days.
This article was originally posted here