News From Manchester: Celtic and Freiburg add to transfer interest in Man City defender

The Japanese centre-back, 25, signed for City in 2019 but has not played a game under Pep Guardiola and has been told that he will not be part of the squad at the Etihad for next year. After spending two years in the Dutch top flight with FC Groningen, he earned impressive reviews this year with Schalke as the German club won their way back up to the Bundesliga.

Itakura has spoken warmly of his time in Germany and Schalke do have the option to buy the defender in a 6m deal. However, clubs including Celtic and Freiburg have been alerted to the news that Schalke may not be able to stump up the fee.

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City enjoy a good relationship with Schalke the club they signed Leroy Sane from in 2016 and there is still the possibility that Itakura moves there on a permanent deal. But interest from other clubs has reminded the Blues that there are several possibly buyers willing to spend at least 6m that could take advantage of Schalke's delay or outbid them.

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