Liverpool’s interest in a new center back, which has continued since last summer’s transfer window, has not disappeared.
Interest in England defender Levi Colwill, who renewed his contract with Chelsea, has not waned, and Sporting defender Gonzalo Inácio and Lille defender Lenny Yolo are reportedly among the targets.
According to Patrick Berger of Sky Sports, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are interested in Japan defender Ko Itakura, who is participating in the AFC Asian Cup and has a 10-15 million euro exit clause in his current contract.
“Revealed: Gladbach star Ko Itakura has an exit clause, according to Sky Infos, which will take effect from the summer and is set at €10-15m. The Bundesliga club are working on an early extension with the defender. There has recently been interest from Tottenham and Liverpool.”
Enthüllt: #Gladbach-Star Ko Itakura (26/🇯🇵) hat nach Sky Infos eine Ausstiegsklausel, die ab Sommer greift und bei 10-15m€ liegt. Die Fohlen arbeiten dran, vorzeitig mit dem Abwehrspieler zu verlängern. Zuletzt gab es Interesse aus Tottenham und Liverpool. w/ @Plettigoal ⚫️🟢— Patrick Berger (@berger_pj) January 17, 2024
In 2019, the player got a transfer to Manchester City from Kawasaki Frontale, but he has never played for the club and honed his skills at Groningen and Schalke, where he joined on loan.In the summer of 2022, he left England for Borussia Monchengladbach, where he moved completely.
He has found his place in the Bundesliga and has made eight appearances this season. Most recently, he has been plagued by an ankle injury and has not played a game since last October. Nevertheless, he has been selected for Japan’s Asian Cup squad, and is playing in the heat of the competition in Qatar.
The 26-year-old center-back continues to gain recognition in Europe, and with the rising reputation of Japanese players in the Premier League, it would not be surprising to see interest from some of England’s best clubs.
However, his age, soon to be 27, is a bit of a concern. The other targets are all young, in their early 20s, and can be trusted to play in the back line for the next 10 years. If only they can get rid of this discomfort, they will be valuable members of the team to replace Joel Matip.
Will the Japanese center back have a future playing in the Premier League, which he could not achieve with Manchester City?