Ko Itakura to sign for Spurs?

Ko Itakura picture

The Japanese international central defender has been linked heavily with a potential move to North London in the 2024 January Transfer Window.

Spurs Head Coach Ange Postecoglou is looking to upgrade his squad in the January transfer window, with the North London club targeting a return to the lucrative and prestigious UEFA Champions League this season.

With Genoa’s Romanian central defender Radu Dragusin looking set to sign for the Lilywhites, another defender has recently been linked heavily with a move to the Premier League.

Japan international Ko Itakura is a centre back who currently plays his club football for German Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach, and he has been linked with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Ikatura has been with Borussia Monchengladbach since he joined the Foals back on 2nd July 2022 for a rumoured fee of €5 million. Should he complete a move to North London, it is believed that the defender would command a fee considerably higher than this, but as of now, there is no clear indication as to how much it would cost Postecoglou and Spurs if they decided to go ahead and negotiate a deal.

He began playing for Kawasaki Frontale’s youth teams in 2006 before becoming professional by 2015. However, he did not make an appearance for the first team, but he did make 2 appearances for the club’s under 22 side in Japan’s J3 League, the country’s third division.

After making a few starts for Kawasaki Frontale’s first team in the J1 League between 2015 and 2017, Ikatura joined fellow Japanese top flight side Vegalta Sendai for the 2018 season. During his time with the club, the defender made 32 appearances in all competitions.

24 of them came in the J1 League, where he scored 3 goals. He helped his team to an 11th place finish after accumulating 45 points from their 34 matches. Then, in January 2019, Ko Itakura signed for Manchester City for a reported fee of around €1.1 million (£948k).

However, he never made an appearance for the Cityzens. Upon joining the club, the central defender was immediately sent out on loan to Dutch club FC Groningen, who were then playing their football in the Eredivisie (The Dutch Top Flight).

During his first season with Trots van het Noorden (Pride of the North), 2019/20, the Japan international defender made 28 appearances for the club, with 22 coming in the league. He helped FC Groningen to a very respectable 9th place finish with 35 points – however, this season was not completed due to the global pandemic.

His second and final season on loan with FC Groningen, 2020/21, saw him become an even more important member of the starting eleven. He made 36 appearances in all competitions, with 35 coming in the Eredivisie. He scored 1 goal and got an assist alongside his own solid performances to earn a 7th place finish with 50 points from 34 matches.

Ko did make one further appearance in the Conference League playoffs, but he and his FC Groningen teammates lost 1 – 0 to FC Utrecht in the semi-finals.

Another loan spell beckoned for Ikatura for the duration of the 2021/22 season with Schalke, now competing in 2. Bundesliga, Germany’s Second Division.

Throughout his only campaign with Die Königslauen (The Royal Blues), Ikatura made 31 appearances in the league, scoring 4 goals. His goals and excellent performances helped his club finish in first place, earning them the title and automatic promotion to the Bundesliga. He and his teammates had earned 65 points from their 34 matches.

This was to be his final loan spell away from Manchester City. Ko Ikatura signed for fellow German club Borussia Monchengladbach for a fee of €5 million (£4.3 million) on 2nd July 2022.

His first season at the club (2022/23) saw him immediately become a regular member of the Foals’ starting eleven. His 24 Bundesliga appearances saw him produce 2 assists, and his efforts helped his club to a 10th place finish after earning 43 points from their 34 matches.

Over the course of the current campaign (2023/24), he has made 7 appearances in the Bundesliga so far, scoring two goals as of the time of writing. Borussia Monchengladbach currently sits 12th in the league table with 17 points from their 16 games.

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