This is the time of year again when transfers happen, and Ko Itakura of Borussia Monchengladbach is reportedly being linked to Liverpool.
26-year-old Itakura has quietly built a solid reputation for himself as a strong, adaptable centre back who can play a variety of positions in the defence. As Japan advanced from their group, which included Germany, Spain, and Costa Rica, Itakura was a crucial first-team starter.
Gladbach centre defender Itakura, who is estimated to be worth £15 million (according to Transfermarkt), has reportedly been viewed “multiple times” by Liverpool scouts, according to Fabrizio Romano. Tottenham has also apparently been linked to a move since Ange Postecoglou was interested in them when he was Celtic’s manager in the past.
His contract allegedly contains a release clause, but it is “not valid” until the summer and there are no details on the cost. However, since elite teams are supposedly keeping an eye on the defender, details about the clause might surface eventually. Wataru Endo was a left-field addition when he joined Liverpool in the summer, and current sporting director Jorg Schamdtke may be able to do the same with Itakura given his connections in Germany.
Gladbach’s sporting director at the moment is his son Nils, who raises the possibility that Liverpool has an advantage over the opposition. Itakura might be a cheap substitute who could assist cover numerous positions and contribute quality on the ball and in the air, especially with Joel Matip’s contract expiring at the conclusion of the season.
Right now, he leads all centre backs in the Bundesliga in headed goals average (0.27 per 90), having scored goals against Augsburg and Bayern Munich. In addition, with a 92.68% completion percentage that places him sixth in the German division this season, he is among the most accurate passers among CBs in the Bundesliga.
Viewers will have the opportunity to witness the 1.88m defender in action this month at the Asian Games, where he is expected to play a crucial role in Japan’s squad alongside Endo. Prior to South Korea, they are the favourites to win the competition, and the four-time winners will be looking to repeat as champions for the first time since 2011.