FC Groningen have opened talks with Manchester City in an attempt to keep Ko Itakura for a third straight season.
Itakura has been with the Dutch side since 2019, having joined them just a day after completing a move to City from Kawasaki Frontale.
He’s been a regular in the Netherlands since, racking up 51 appearances in all competitions in what has become a highly successful loan spell for the 24-year-old.
He’s set to return to Manchester City this summer, but Dagblad van het Noorden report talks are underway to extend his move into a third straight season.
They explain that Groningen are ‘in danger of losing’ Itakura, but the club would like to keep him as he has been at a ‘constant high level’ this year.
The Dutch side don’t have an option to buy on the Japanese defender but do share a ‘modest percentage’ in any future transfer fee.
Technical director Mark-Jan Fledderus would like to keep him and see Itakura ‘mature’ further in the Netherlands and has ‘also expressed that wish in England’.
“We would like to keep him for another year, and we are in contact with Manchester City about that,” he told the website.
“As I said, we have the intention to keep him after this season, but several parties will have to agree on that. Not only Manchester City but also Ko himself and his manager.”
The decision will be City’s, though, with the player out of contract next summer and them unlikely to sanction a new loan deal with that in mind.
Indeed, back in December, it was reported that they were expected to sell Itakura in the summer or loan him to a top-level club next year.
Unless he signs a new deal, the former is likely to be the route they go down, although it seems Groningen are working to ensure that doesn’t happen.