Ko Itakura a candidate for Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim’s search for a new central-defender continues with the Bundesliga side interested in signing Ko Itakura from Manchester City, according to Kicker.

The 25-year-old spent last season on loan at Schalke in the 2. Bundesliga, helping the Royal Blues achieve promotion at the first time of asking.

Itakura is entering the final year of his contract and would be allowed to leave for around €6m, his reported option to buy when on loan at Schalke last season.

Also able to play in midfield, Itakura played 32 games in all competitions for Schalke last season, establishing himself as an important figure within the squad.

Alongside the Japan international, Hoffenheim are also interested in signing Dan-Axel Zagadou on a free transfer when his contract with Borussia Dortmund expires at the end of the month.

Hoffenheim’s need for a central-defender comes after American Chris Richards returned to Bayern Munich following a successful loan spell at TSG.

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