JAPANESE international centre-back Ko Itakura will NOT be joining his countrymen at Celtic.

Reports linked the 25-year-old Manchester City defender with a switch to Parkhead to unite with Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi.

However, any thoughts of a move to Glasgow for Itakura have been ended after he signed a £4.5million four-year contract with Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

The 12 times-capped performer, who can also operate in midfield, spent last season on loan at Schalke and scored four goals in 31 league appearances to help the team back to the top flight after one campaign in the second tier.

However, they could not afford City’s asking fee which opened the door for their rivals to swoop for Itakura.

Gladbach sporting director Roland Virkus said. “Ko surely had several good options for a move. So we´re even more pleased that he is convinced of our way, because he is an important building block in our planning.”

Itakura came through the youth system of Hatate’s former club Kawasaki Frontale and signed for the Etihad giants in January 2019. However, he never played a Premier League game for Pep Guardiola and was loaned to Dutch side Groningen for two and a half seasons before moving on another temporary transfer to Schalke.

Ironically, the newly-promoted club have switched their attention to Christopher Jullien and have not given up hope of a loan arrangement for Celtic’s towering Frenchman, despite the initial deal collapsing during the week due to a financial hitch.

The German side’s management are keen to re-open negotiations at the start of the week for the 29-year-old centre-back who cost the Hoops £7million when he arrived from Toulouse in June 2019.

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