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Liverpool keep close tabs on Japan defender Ko Itakura

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Liverpool are keeping tabs on Borussia Monchengladbach’s defender Ko Itakura but could face competition from Tottenham, according to Fabrizio Romano.

With Joel Matip ruled out for most of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, The Reds are one short of centre-back options and are set to enter the market for another defender to provide cover and depth as they are still in all competitions this season.

Itakura has emerged as a target as Romano reports that Liverpool have sent scouts to watch the Japan International’s performances on multiple occasions.

However, Liverpool could face competition as the respected journalist says Tottenham have also been keeping an eye on the 26-year-old. Ange Postecoglou previously targeted Itakura while coaching Celtic and has maintained his interest at Spurs.

Itakura’s contract at Borussia-Park is set to expire in 2026 and although his official release clause is not mentioned in the original report, transfermarkt values Itakura at £13m

The Reds need new defender

The Japan international initially joined Schalke on loan in the 2021/22 season, contributing to their promotion back to the top flight. His impressive displays in the second tier attracted interest from several clubs. While Schalke couldn’t secure a permanent deal, he chose to stay in Germany, signing with Gladbach.

Itakura’s stay in the Bundesliga has not been as smooth as he would have anticipated. He has been marred by injury issues and playing for a team that hasn’t performed exceptionally well since his permanent move to Germany, impacting his performance at times. Though his form has been inconsistent, he remains a key player for the team.

Although theoretically right-footed, he is comfortable enough on the ball to frequently play as the left-sided center-half. The qualities exhibited by Itakura align with Liverpool’s strategic considerations for bolstering their defensive options next season.

We’ll have to wait and see whether Liverpool decide to formalise their interest in Itakura but we should also keep an eye on Tottenham with Postecoglou seemingly keen on the defender, too.

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