Bayern Munich sign Hiroki Ito from Stuttgart

“It is a great honour for me to be able to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world“- he said.

by Sead Dedovic
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Bayern Munich sign Hiroki Ito from Stuttgart
© Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images Sport

Bayern Munich, after a disappointing season, knew they had to make certain moves to prevent the same scenario from happening in the 2024/2025 season. The executives of Bayern Munich have every right to be disappointed, considering that the German team did not win any trophies, which hasn't been remembered for a long time. It was expected that Bayern would be active in the summer transfer market, and confirmation came a few days later. Namely, Munich decided to do business with Stuttgart, a team that was impressive last season, finishing second in the championship ahead of Bayern Munich.

The Bavarian giant activated a release clause and purchased Stuttgart's defender, Hiroki Ito for €28,000,000.

Bayern Munich had one of the least successful seasons in the 21st century so far, but as a true giant of world football, they brushed off the dust and continued to work. Numerous coaches turned down the hot seat at the Allianz Arena, and after months of searching for the leader of a new project, Vincent Kompany was chosen.

Although the majority of fans are not satisfied with his engagement, many believe that the Belgian has a perspective for great things, and expect him to dominate next season with Bayern Munich.

Working in Munich at full throttle to extend Alphonso Davies' contract, there was much talk of strengthening the backline with Jonathan Tah from Bayer Leverkusen, but the six-time European champion turned to the German runner-up instead.

Hiroki Ito transferred from Stuttgart for a fee of €28,000,000 and became the third most expensive sale for Sttutgart. Only Benjamin Pavard and Mario Gomez were sold for a higher sum, both of whom, like Ito, exchanged Stuttgart's jersey for Bayern's. Mario Gomez joined Louis van Gaal's team in 2009 in a transfer worth €30,000,000, while Pavard's move cost Bayern €5,000,000 more in the summer of 2019. In this way, the Japanese player became the fifth central defender available to Kompany, alongside Matthijs de Ligt, Kim Min-Jae, Dayot Upamecano, and Eric Dier.

Sporting director Max Eberl was delighted after such a deal: 

"We want hungry players who bring new energy, and Hiroki has everything we want.

He is a player who accepts challenges and overcomes them. At 25 years old, he has already gained a lot of experience and can handle pressure, whether in a relegation match or with a chance of making it to the Champions League. He will immediately be a real reinforcement for us.“- Eberl said.

Ito began his football career in the youth system of Japan's Jubilo Iwata, where he signed his first professional contract in 2018.

Hiroki Ito
Hiroki Ito© Kenta Harada/Getty Images Sport
 

He played a total of 60 league matches for Jubilo and had a breakthrough during his loan spell at Nagoya Grampus before joining Stuttgart ahead of the 2021/22 season. At the Mercedes-Benz Arena, he appeared in 97 competitive matches and scored two goals. Ito is a left-footed defender who can also perform well as a left-back. Born in Hamamatsu 25 years ago, he played 26 Bundesliga matches in the recently concluded season, helping Stuttgart secure second place and qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 14 years.

He made his debut for the senior national team in June 2022 and has since played 19 matches, scoring one goal. He also participated in the 2022 World Cup, where his team reached the knockout stage and narrowly lost to Croatia on penalties in the round of 16.

Hiroki Ito is delighted

The great defender had dreamed of playing for one of the world's biggest clubs one day. Ultimately, it was known that if he was truly impressive, his next destination could indeed be one of the bigger clubs in Germany. Finally, Ito transferred to the biggest German club, which is spoken of in superlatives even in Japan. Ito is happy about his adventure in Stuttgart, emphasizing that he always gave his best. No one doubts that the Japanese player will give his maximum in Munich as well, ready for his team to conquer Europe and win trophies starting next season.

It is a great honour for me to be able to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world. The name FC Bayern also has a good reputation in Japan.

I always gave my all at VfB Stuttgart and am grateful to the club. Now I am looking forward to the challenge in Munich and want to do my part to ensure that FC Bayern wins many titles.

It was time to take a new step, and for me FC Bayern is the perfect club for that.”- Ito said.

Bayern's executives enter the next season with great ambitions, dreaming of lifting the Champions League trophy, as well as the Bundesliga and the German Cup. They certainly will not allow a repeat of the previous disappointing season to happen.

Bayern Munich
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