Gamba Osaka midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi has told Hochi in Japan that he still wants a move to Europe, as speculation over a move to Leeds United continues.
The Whites have mostly shopped in Europe this past summer thanks to the impact of sporting director Victor Orta, but Leeds have also appointed ex-Japan international Toshiya Fujita as their new Head of Football Development for Asia.
Fujita's knowledge of Asian football may help Leeds unearth some gems, and Leeds may now be on the verge of securing a deal for Gamba Osaka midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi.
The Yorkshire Evening Post report that Leeds are pushing to secure a deal for Ideguchi in January, and whilst he may have some work permit issues, the Whites are certainly aiming to have the midfielder snapped up in 2018.
Now, Ideguchi has been asked about the situation by Hochi in Japan, and he has admitted that he still wants to make a move to Europe, as it is the dream of every football player – and hopes to seal a big move in the near future.
"The desire to go abroad has not changed, I think that the goal is there because I am a football player,” said Ideguchi. "There are a lot of people playing for top overseas teams, so the level is high in practice, which is normal, it's normal. I also want to go to such places,” he added.
Central midfielder Ideguchi, 21, has impressed for Gamba Osaka and already has three caps and one goal to his name for Japan, whilst he even won the J.League Rookie of the Year award for last season.
Leeds are now hoping to win the race to sign Ideguchi, whose comments suggest that he is ready for a step up after training with Japan, as many of his team-mates are playing in Europe.
The likes of Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Yuki Kobayashi (Heerenveen), Genki Haraguchi (Hertha Berlin), Yuya Kubo (Gent), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Yuya Osako (Koln), Takuma Asano (Stuttgart) and Yoshinori Muto (Mainz) were all in the last Japan squad alongside Ideguchi, whilst Maya Yoshida and Shinji Okazaki – of Southampton and Leicester respectively – also played in the same side as the Leeds target.
Playing alongside so many players who have already earned their moves to Europe has given Ideguchi a glimpse of what he could earn in the near future, and his comments should give Leeds a real boost in their pursuit of the midfielder, as he wants to join a major club to further his career, with Elland Road a potentially ideal destination.