News has broken earlier today that Leeds United have agreed a deal to sign highly rated Japanese international Yosuke Ideguchi. The midfielder will join from Gamba Osaka for a fee believed to be around £500k and will head to Elland Road to January, before heading out on loan immediately due to issues with a work permit.
The deal is significant in terms of breaking into the Asian market, and there are a few reasons for this. First and foremost Leeds will have a player to promote the club in that part of the world, and if you think that sounds daft you need only look at some of the biggest clubs in the world who have done the same thing in recent years. Manchester United and Dortmund have both had players such as Shinji Kagawa and Park sign for commercial reasons as well as the fact they were good footballers. Leicester City did a similar thing with Okazaki in the last few years and the value of signing players from that part of the world can be very rewarding.
The second reason is more significant, and more important to us as fans. Leeds aren’t just signing a player for the commercial side of things and hoping he can play here and there, we are signing the brightest talent in the ranks of the Japanese national side currently. Ideguchi is currently the face of the national side and will be a key player for them come the summer in Russia. The midfielder bagged a crucial last minute goal against Australia to secure qualification and he is seen as one of the most talented players to come through for Japan in a few years. It’s hard to judge for us, we can only go on what we know and the majority of the opinion is that Leeds have bagged themselves a talent.
When will he arrive? January, but we won’t be hanging around long. Due to Japan being ranked so low in the FIFA world rankings he cannot gain a work permit this season, and he will be loaned out immediately, the most likely destination probably Cultural Leonesa but there is nothing to say that is the case yet. The signing, according to Phil Hay is more based on next season, the club confident a work permit will be secured for the start of next season. Ideguchi will be heading to Russia, that will be our first glimpse of the player, and he has told Japanese media he is happy with the move to Elland Road.
Ideguchi scored a glorious goal to secure Japan’s place in Russia (below)