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Who Is This Japanese U-21 Star Targeted By Leeds United? Everything You Need To Know

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Yosuke Ideguchi (left)

Scout Report – Yosuke Ideguchi

Leeds United are tracking Japanese midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi in order to sign him in the January transfer window, as per reports from Japanese outlet Sports Nippon (h/t ESPN FC).

The 21-year old midfielder, who plays for Japanese club Gamba Osaka, reportedly has a release clause of £700,000 in his contract with the club, and the Whites are prepared to match that amount in order to get him to Yorkshire. This development comes on the back of recent comments on social media by Leeds’ sporting director Victor Orta, where he hinted that the club are plotting a surprise signing from Asia.

With Ideguchi is being linked with a move to the Elland Road, here we bring you the lowdown on the midfielder.

Footballing Background 

Born on 23 June 1996, in Fukuoka, Japan, Ideguchi had short stints with a number of clubs in his hometown, before being picked up by the academy of Gamba Osaka in 2009 as a 13-year old.  

Having risen to the youth side from the junior side in two years time, Ideguchi continued his rapid rise and finally broke into the senior team in 2014, making two cup appearances. The midfielder made 20 appearances in the 2015 season, without scoring or assisting, but it was in 2016 that he really came to the fore. 

Yosuke Ideguchi (middle)

Ideguchi made 34 appearances for Gamba Osaka in the 2016 season, netting four goals and registering one assist on his way to winning the J. League Rookie of the Year award and the J. League Cup New Hero Award. The 21-year old has built upon the impressive season last year, and has played 29 times in all competitions in the ongoing year, scoring three times and registering 9 assists. 

The central midfielder was called up for the Japan national team in November 2016, but made his debut in June this year. Since then, he has featured four times on the international stage and scored his first goal for Japan in the 2-0 win over Australia on 31 August, which guaranteed his nation’s place in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.

Style Of Play 

Ideguchi started off as a holding midfielder, but has developed his game very well in his fledgeling career that he can impact proceedings at both the ends of the pitch.  

A tough-tackling, tenacious midfielder in the defensive half, the 21-year old has good pace and demonstrates very good confidence when he has the ball at his feet. Able to carry the ball forward by himself and also play passes from deep, be it short or long, there are a lot of qualities to like about him. And add to this, his ability to score goals from distance – his goal against Australia being the perfect evidence – the Japan international has all the makings of an all-round central midfielder.  

His pace in the middle of the park allows him to switch from defence to attack swiftly, but it is one aspect that he still needs to brush upon, along with his decision making and positional awareness.

What Does The Future Hold?

If reports are to be believed, Leeds will trigger his release clause in January, but a move will depend on him getting a work permit from the government. As of now, he hasn’t played enough games for his national team to meet the criterion for a work permit, so it is likely that Leeds may loan out to him to some other European club, if they do end up signing him. However, Ideguchi seems to be an exciting prospect and could prove to be a shrewd piece of business by the Whites.

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