Hiroki Ito: Why Bayern Munich moved fast to secure Tottenham Hotspur target

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Deal imminent 


The summer has its first transfer surprise. First reported by Bild and then confirmed by Sky and Fabrizio Romano, Bayern Munich are set to sign Japanese center-back Hiroki Ito from VfB Stuttgart. The transfer is now all but finalized. Bayern will activate Ito’s exit clause worth €28m and the 25-year-old center-back is expected to sign a contract until 2028. A transfer announcement is expected very soon.

Once completed, Ito will become Stuttgart’s second most expensive outgoing transfer. The only player more expensive has been Benjamin Pavard. The French defender joined Bayern Munich in 2019 for €35m (overview). Reports indicate that the transfer is independent of Bayern potentially signing Jonathan Tah from Bayer Leverkusen. The Tah transfer, however, is considered difficult. In Ito, Bayern have now secured some stability in what is considered a vital position in the summer transfer window for the club.  

Indeed, Ito perfectly fits Bayern’s needs. Left-footed, the Japanese center-back is set to fill an important void in the Rekordmeister’s backline. Furthermore, Ito can also play as a left-back and in midfield. Finally, Ito was a key player in Stuttgart’s brilliant last season. The Swabians secured a club-record 73 points to finish one point ahead of Bayern Munich in second place. During that run, Ito increased his market value to €30m. 

Ito secures Stuttgart surplus – Bayern beat out Tottenham 

It is a tremendous piece of business for Stuttgart. After being previously on loan, Stuttgart signed Ito for just €400,000 from Júbilo Iwata. Since his arrival, Ito has played 97 games and has been an integral part of Sebastian Hoeneß’s tactical setup at Stuttgart. Indeed, his play has meant several top clubs have noticed, and Ito has been linked with a move to Premier League side Tottenham in recent weeks. But Bayern were able to lure Ito with the prospect of Champions League football, keeping the Japanese star in the Bundesliga. 

What makes Ito such an incredible prospect for Bayern? First and foremost, Ito already knows the Bundesliga. But in Vincent Kompany, Bayern have signed a head coach who will try to implement a similar style to what Hoeneß played with Stuttgart last season. According to Wyscout, Ito was 14th in the Bundesliga with 10.52 progressive passes per 90 minutes and 69.84 passes per 90 minutes. Those numbers, combined with his age, the ability to play various positions, and his relatively affordable pricetag, make Ito an intriguing signing for Bayern, perhaps indicating that the bosses at the Säbener Straße might be thinking a bit more outside the box this transfer summer.

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