As reported by Bild, Napoli are lining up Borussia Mönchengladbach defender Ko Itakura as the replacement for Kim Min-Jae who is set for a departure to Bayern Munich.
The Japanese defender moved to Gladbach last summer after a successful season with Schalke, helping the Royal Blues navigate their way back to the Bundesliga. The Foals were able to pick up Itakura for €5m from English side Manchester City, signing a contract that is valid until 2026.
This will ensure that Gladbach are in a strong position to negotiate a suitable fee, as Napoli will be on the hunt to replace their star defender. Nevertheless, with the money the Italian side would have accrued from the sale of their South Korean defender, they will undoubtedly be able to lure Itakura away from Germany.
Itakura was a key asset for former Gladbach head coach Daniel Farke, who targeted Itakura for his ball-playing ability for his possession-based system. Last season the 26-year-old featured 25 times for the Foals where he was able to keep six clean sheets.
However, Gladbach fans will be wondering as to how they plan to earn their way back to being a consistent side in European competition. With stars such as Marcus Thuram and Ramy Bensebaini departing this summer, the only notable signing in the permanent capture of Julian Weigl has not offered much hope to the Gladbach faithful.
GGFN | Will Shopland