Leeds United are desperate to bring Japanese international midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi to Elland Road but face a challenge from Belgium.
It is still unclear where Yosuke Ideguchi will end up January. The Japanese international appeared certain to move to Leeds United in the New Year with The Sun reporting that they were on the verge of clinching a deal for the Gamba Osaka star, whose buyout clause stands at a bargain £700,000.
Director of football Victor Orta claimed that Leeds were tracking an exciting talent plying his trade in Asia and Ideguchi, winner of the J-League’s Rookie of the Year award in 2016, certainly fits the bill.
Japanese publication Sanspo, however, has cast doubt on the deal by reporting that Belgian side Sint-Truiden have made Ideguchi their top target for the January transfer window. The Jupiler League side were invested in by Japanese company DMM in the summer and are hoping to boost their popularity in the Far East.
But perhaps there is a way for both clubs to get what they want – at least to an extent. The report adds that Ideguchi, who has played just three times for Japan, may have difficulty obtaining a work permit in order to play in England – but that would not be a concern in Belgium.
Therefore, perhaps Leeds should attempt to take inspiration from Everton’s handling of Henry Onyekuru and sign Ideguchi permanently before loaning him to Sint-Truiden.
Everton completed the £7 million signing of Nigerian prodigy Onyekuru after he plundered 22 goals in Belgium for KAS Eupen last season (BBC). However, as he did not yet have a work permit, The Toffees sent him back to the Jupiler League with Anderlecht on a temporary basis until he is allowed to play on Merseyside.
Leeds, then, may be best served taking a leaf out of Everton’s book. This way, Sint-Truiden get the Asian talent they’ve been after while Leeds should benefit from Ideguchi arriving with a few months of European football under his belt.