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HomeBundesligaHow long can Ito resist the lure?

How long can Ito resist the lure?

So far, Hiroki Ito has been able to resist the lure of other clubs. Now Tottenham Hotspur are showing interest in Stuttgart’s left-back. Will the 25-year-old turn them down again?

In the winter, it was already Al-Nassr, the first division club from the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, where Cristiano Ronaldo and former Liverpool and Bayern star Sadio Mané, among others, are under contract. Recently, Al Nassr’s league rivals Al-Ahli were also among the interested parties with ex-Hoffenheim and Liverpool star Roberto Firmino. The two billion-dollar clubs from the desert were courting Hiroki Ito with extremely lucrative offers and were prepared to activate the release clause of the player, who is tied to VfB until the end of June 2027, which is slightly less than 30 million euros. However, the Stuttgart left-back and central defender has so far resisted the temptations.

Now other interested parties are appearing on the scene. Among them Tottenham Hotspur, who have their eye on the Japanese. Ito, who celebrated an unchallenged 5-0 away win with Japan in Myanmar last Thursday in qualifying for the 2026 World Cup, is a man in demand. “Hiro has developed very, very well and played a really good round,” enthused Sebastian Hoeneß recently.

Stuttgart’s head coach is full of praise for the publicity-shy but highly visible defender. “He is a playful, technically adept central defender, has pace, has defensive qualities, is tall and has a strong header,” said Hoeneß. “Hiro is an enormously interesting, high-quality player who has played a really good role for us.” And that despite a personal stuttering start at the beginning of the season, which didn’t really matter in the long term. His coach was also impressed by the way he “came out of this weaker phase very, very well.”

A potentially fabulous added value

While the goalscoring duo of Serhou Guirassy and Deniz Undav dominated the headlines with their goals, Chris Führich and Maximilian Mittelstädt as the perfect left wing duo or captain Waldemar Anton and Angelo Stiller as the pillars of Stuttgart’s center, Ito led more of a public shadowy existence. In sporting terms, however, his performances were certainly registered and noted on the scouting lists of clubs looking for reinforcements.

Ito’s departure would be a great loss in sporting terms, but at the same time a fabulous value creation financially. In the summer of 2022, the left-back came to Stuttgart from Jubilo Iwata for a loan fee of around €100,000. A year later, he was signed permanently for a further 600,000 euros. Now he could be sold for over 40 times that amount – should Ito be ready. Which is not automatically said …

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