Soccer-Bayern sign Japanese defender Ito from Stuttgart

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Germany - Bundesliga - RB Leipzig v VfB Stuttgart - Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany - August 25, 2023 VfB Stuttgart's Hiroki Ito reacts REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/ File Photo

(Reuters) - Bayern Munich have signed defender Hiroki Ito from VfB Stuttgart with the 25-year-old Japan international signing a four-year contract, the German club said on Thursday.

Ito played 26 times for Stuttgart this season as the club managed to finish second behind champions Bayer Leverkusen while the left back, who can also play centrally, helped Japan reach the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup earlier this year.

"Hiroki Ito was reliability personified at VfB Stuttgart. He produced consistent performances at a top level, which attracted the attention of several big clubs," Bayern sporting director Christoph Freund said in a statement.

"Hiroki is tall, aggressive, has a strong left foot, an excellent passing game and is versatile in defence because he can play on both the left side as well as centrally."

Ito could compete for the left back spot with Alphonso Davies but the Canada international, who has one year left on his contract, has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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