SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

DOHA, QATAR - Wednesday, November 23, 2022: Japan's Ko Itakura during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool learn bargain release clause for Japanese centre-back target

Liverpool are said to be monitoring the situation of Japanese centre-back Ko Itakura, and his release clause is a reasonable one.

The Borussia Monchengladbach was ever-present for the Bundesliga side prior to an ankle problem he picked up in October, and has 23 caps to his name for his country.

Jurgen Klopp‘s defensive options were harmed when Joel Matip‘s season ended prematurely due to the ACL injury he sustained last month, and several defenders have been tentatively linked to Anfield since.

According to Sky Germany, Itakura has caught the attention of both Liverpool and Tottenham, with the release clause – said to be between €10 million and €15 million – offering both clubs encouragement.

That would mean a fee of between £8.6 million and £12.9 million.

DOHA, QATAR - Wednesday, November 23, 2022: Japan's Ko Itakura during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That clause only activates this summer, however, and his inclusion in the ongoing Asian Cup in Qatar makes an imminent deal this month highly unlikely.

Earlier this month, Liverpool were said to be scouting Borussia Monchengladbach’s No. 3, with Fabrizio Romano claiming the club have watched the defender “multiple times” already this season.

The 26-year-old joined the German club from Man City in the summer of 2022, having not registered a senior appearance under Pep Guardiola.

It appears that his next move could see him return to the Premier League, with both Klopp and Ange Postecoglou reported to be fans of the player.

He would become only the third Japanese player to join Liverpool in the club’s history, following in the footsteps of international team-mates Taki Minamino and Wataru Endo – both of whom are also in the Middle East vying for Asian Cup glory.

DOHA, QATAR - Wednesday, November 23, 2022: Japan players line-up for a team group photograph before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium. Back row L-R: goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda, Hiroki Sakai, Ko Itakura, Ao Tanaka, Water Endo, Maya Yoshida. Front row L-R: Junya Ito, Takefusa Kubo, Daizen Maeda, Yuto Nagatomo, Daichi Kamada. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

These reports come after This Is Anfield‘s David Lynch revealed Liverpool are also interested in Sporting CP centre-back Ousmane Diomande.

Diomande would likely command a significantly higher fee than Itakura, with the 20-year-old having impressed since making a €12.5 million move of his own from Danish side Midtjylland just 12 months ago.

With the release clause not valid until the end of the campaign and the centre-back occupied with international commitments, any potential deal is likely to come further down the line.

Links to defenders do appear to be increasing, however, which indicates that it is a position the club would like to replenish at some stage in the near future.