Manchester City have sold Ko Itakura to Borussia Monchengladbach, where he has signed a four-year contract.
Itakura had been on the books of Manchester City since 2019, when they brought him to Europe from Kawasaki Frontale in his native Japan. He never made an appearance for the Premier League club, though.
Instead, the defender spent most of his time on loan away from Manchester City. First, he spent two-and-a-half seasons in the Netherlands with Groningen.
For the Dutch side, he made 59 appearances across all competitions. His spell there ended in 2021, prompting City to find a new destination for him.
Itakura signed for Schalke for the 2021-22 season, making 31 appearances in the German second tier and one in the cup. He helped his side win promotion, but they did not activate their option to buy.
At the end of that loan spell, there was speculation that Itakura could get his chance in the Premier League. It wouldn’t be with City, but the likes of Fulham and Bournemouth were linked after winning promotion from the Championship.
However, Itakura will continue his career in Germany, having signed on a permanent basis for Borussia Monchengladbach.
He has agreed to a contract until 2026 with the Bundesliga outfit, who will unveil him to the media at a press conference on Monday – by which point he will already have joined up with their pre-season training camp.
Their sporting director Roland Virkus told their club website: “Ko is an incredibly strong runner and a tactically-disciplined player who can play in an array of different positions across the defence, including in defensive midfield.
“He certainly had several attractive offers on the table, which makes us even more pleased that he’s chosen to sign with us, because he’s an important part of our plans.”
Ko Itakura sale good business for Man City
Reports are indicating City have received €5m (£4.3m) by selling the 25-year-old. It represents decent business for a player they never were able to give an appearance to.
For Itakura, a 12-cap Japan international, finding the stability of having a permanent club to play for will be beneficial as well.
He will hope to be part of his country’s squad at the 2022 World Cup. Now, by signing for Borussia Monchengladbach, he will have a chance of going into it with regular action behind him.
City would never have been able to match that. Therefore, it makes sense for them to go their separate ways now.