Bayern Sign Japan Defender Ito From Stuttgart Until 2028

Bayern Munich confirmed on Thursday that it has signed Japanese centre-back Hiroki Ito from Stuttgart until 2028, after reportedly activating his 30 million euro ($32 million) release clause.

Ito, 25, is a surprise acquisition for Bayern and their first major addition of the transfer window, having joined the Bundesliga only two seasons ago from Japanese club Jubilo Iwata for less than one million euros.

“It’s a great honour for me to be able to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Ito said in a prepared statement.

“I want to play my part in FC Bayern winning lots of trophies.”

Normally deployed in central defence, the left-footed Ito can also play at left-back or in defensive midfield.

Ito played 97 times in two seasons at Stuttgart, scoring twice.

“Hiroki has everything that we want: he’s a player who embraces challenges, overcomes them and continues to make his way,” said Bayern sporting director Max Eberl.

“He’ll really strengthen us right away.”

Ito was a vital role in Stuttgart’s amazing comeback last season, as the club rose from relegation to Champions League contention.

Sebastian Hoeness’ team finished second behind winners Bayer Leverkusen, one spot ahead of Bayern, who missed out on a trophy for the first time in 12 seasons.

Ito debuted for Japan in 2022 and has since played 19 games, scoring one goal.

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