Man City men’s Olympic star could provide another transfer boost

Manchester City have a healthy representation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with Team GB’s opening football win on Wednesday made at the Etihad.

Both GB goals came from City’s women side against Chile, with Ellen White converting from Lauren Hemp and Lucy Bronze assists. In total, nine City players featured as Hege Riise’s side started their tournament with a comfortable win.

There is no Great Britain representation in the men’s football, and no City first-team players are in Japan after Pep Guardiola blocked Ferran Torres from representing Spain. After playing at Euro 2020, Torres was denied the chance to earn more international caps as City insisted he needed time to rest before the new season.

For followers of the men’s side, though, there is still a player registered to City in the tournament, and the club will be following his progress closely.

Japan centre-back Ko Itakura has impressed at Groningen on loan for the last two seasons, and has another year on his City deal.

Itakura started in Japan’s first game against South Africa, adding to his five senior caps in a home Olympiad. The 24-year-old is one of the older players in the squad who will also face Mexico and France.

It’s been reported that Celtic are interested in signing Itakura on loan this season, with the Daily Record suggesting that there is considerable interest across Europe.

The report adds that City would ask for a substantial loan fee, or even try and sell Itakura given his contract situation. Any proceeds would further boost City’s transfer budget after the sales of Jack Harrison and Lukas Nmecha, as well as the expected windfall from Jadon Sancho’s move to Manchester United.

City are looking to boost their transfer budget as they pursue Harry Kane and Jack Grealish, with their fringe players and loanees potentially adding £100m to the accounts before any first-teamers have to be considered for sale.

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