Liverpool are reportedly interested in signing an “incredibly fast” player with a low release clause, but face competition for his signature from a Premier League rival.
Liverpool transfer news
The Reds are slowly running out of time to complete some business during the January transfer window, and it may be that Jurgen Klopp is happy with the players already in his squad.
The one area of the pitch that is arguably a concern, though, is centre-back, with so much onus on Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate staying fit for the rest of the season, following a season-ending injury to Joel Matip.
For that reason, it has been no great surprise to see plenty of central defenders linked with moves to Liverpool, with Sporting CP star Goncalo Inacio an individual who has been backed to head to Anfield so often in recent transfer windows. Alternatives to the Portuguese have also been lined up, however, with his Sporting teammate Ousmane Diomande another target for the Merseysiders, and VfB Wolfsburg’s Maxence Lacroix.
With Joe Gomez and Jarell Quansah also standing out as defensive options for Klopp, he might hold fire until the summer transfer window arrives, but there could be a risk in not adding to his squad this month. Now, another name has been thrown into the ring as a possible signing for Liverpool.
Liverpool interested in Ko Itakura
According to a fresh claim from Sky Sports Germany, Liverpool and Klopp are keen on signing Borussia Monchengladbach defender Ko Itakura and have “put out feelers”, with Tottenham also interested in snapping him up.
The 26-year-old is believed to have caught the attention of both clubs, and he has a release clause between €10m (£8.6m) and €15m (£12.9m) that could allow them to sign him on the cheap in the summer.
Itakura could be a really savvy addition by Liverpool, whether that be in January or the summer, with the Japan international seemingly at a perfect age to come straight in as a key squad player. He has 23 caps to his name for his country, while TV presenter Haans Kray has hailed him as “incredibly fast”, once saying of him:
“One of the very best central defenders in the Eredivisie. He can play football well, he can head well and he is incredibly fast.”
Ko Itakura strengths
Ko Itakura weaknesses
Itakura’s speed is something that Klopp could really like, given his preference for playing a high line, with pace sometimes needed to thwart danger when opponents counter-attack Liverpool. The fact that his release clause later this year is so low is also a clear bonus, making it less of a risky buy if the signing ends up not working out, so it is difficult to see many negatives on show.
Whether the Monchengladbach ace is willing to take up a squad role remains to be seen, however, but he has only started seven Bundesliga games this season. Some of that is down to injuries, so the Reds would need to make sure they are signing someone who is reliable fitness-wise.