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Leeds United are already busy in the transfer market before we even reach January and have reached an agreement to sign Japan international Yosuke Ideguchi from Gamba Osaka for £500,000.
The midfielder has announced himself as quite a talent this season, scoring in recent games for Japan against Australia in a World Cup qualifier and against North Korea in the East Asian Championships over the weekend.
Don’t expect to see him in the Leeds team for quite some time though, as even after January, he will not be eligible to play in England just yet.
Ideguchi started his football education in earnest at Aburayama Kameriazu before being snapped up by Gamba Osaka back in 2009.
He has gone on to play 60 J.League games for Gamba and earlier this year, he was rewarded for his hard work with his first cap for Japan. He has since played 8 times for his country and feels ready now for a more competitive league, and Leeds have taken a chance on the midfielder.
The 21-year-old is an all-action midfielder, who prefers to play right through the middle. He combines a fine set of tackling and combative skills with a good passing ability and has an eye for the goal as well. His runs from deep have seen him provide 4 goals and 6 assists in 30 J.league games and overall this season, Ideguchi has been involved in a goal every 233 minutes.
Although some may well be earmarked to leave, next summer could see Kalvin Phillips, Eunan O’Kane, Ronaldo Vieira, Vurnon Anita and Ideguchi all challenging for places in this role.
Ideguchi’s hard running style sets him apart from some of those players and he will be confident of playing first-team football at Leeds.
Due to FA rules denying Ideguchi a work permit for the remainder of the English football season, he will be loaned out abroad immediately after his deal is ratified in January.
The club are confident that he will be given a work permit for the 2018-19 season but for now, his international appearances for Japan are not considered to be enough.
A European loan is seen as important to Leeds as the Japanese season finished a couple of weeks ago. So Ideguchi would be inactive until then. Once he gains that experience, we’re sure to see him in the Leeds United line-up next season and especially if they remain in the Championship.