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25 y/o gives ‘emotional farewell’ to teammates as Man City plan to sell defender

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Ko Itakura was hoping to turn his loan move permanent at Schalke 04, but the Bundesliga outfit didn’t have the funds to trigger his €5m option, so he’s having to return to Manchester City this summer.

Itakura impressed during his spell at the VELTINS-Arena and BILD (h/t Sport Witness) said he had to give an ‘emotional farewell’ to his teammates after being denied the chance to stay.

The 25-year-old has little chance of playing under Pep Guardiola as Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nathan Ake are ahead in the pecking order. Taylor Harwood-Bellis is having to leave for the same reason, so the writing is on the wall for Itakura.

He joined City from Kawasaki Frontale in 2019 but has yet to make an appearance in three years. Itakura has instead been loaned out to FC Groningen (2019 – 2020) (2020/21) and Schalke (2021/22), making 59 appearances for the former and 32 appearances for the latter.

But he’s having to return to the Etihad Campus and weigh up his options. With one year remaining, Itakura is likely to be sold while he still has value, but it remains to be seen where he’ll end up. It seems he’s sad that it won’t be Schalke.

In other news, Taylor Harwood-Bellis nears Man City exit as Burnley ‘close in’ on transfer

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