By Harry Sykes
Leeds United will “definitely” table a bid for Gamba Osaka midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi, according to the Japanese club’s chairman.
Takashi Yamauchi went public with Leeds’ pursuit of the Japan international after widespread reports on Monday that they were working on a deal.
Yamauchi confirmed to Japanese outlet Nikkan Sports that “the offer is definitely coming” when he was quizzed about the Championship giants’ interest in Ideguchi.
Leeds are trying to sign Ideguchi in the January window but their bid is complicated by the fact that he does not automatically qualify for a British work permit and has only made four appearances for the Japan national team to date.
It has been reported in some quarters that the Yorkshire giants could sign the central midfielder and then loan him out to another club in Europe in January.
Ideguchi has made a big impression for Gamba Osaka since graduating from their youth ranks, where he was renowned as a goal machine in midfield.
He was named the J. League Young Player of the Year last season and made waves in Asia during the recent international break by scoring a sensational winner in Japan’s World Cup qualifier against Australia.
In 21 league appearances for Japanese top-tier club Gamba Osaka in 2017, he has scored three goals and supplied six assists.
Football Insider verdict:
Any Leeds fan who will have watched the video clip of Ideguchi’s sensational goal for Japan in their World Cup qualifier win against Australia 12 days ago will be excited about the potential of a rising star of Asian football. A central midfielder who creates and scores goals, Ideguchi clearly has pedigree and a fee of £700,000 is an absolute bargain for an ambitious Championship club. However, it is a deal that should be approached with a degree of trepidation. Japanese players have a mixed record in English football. For every Shinji Okazaki, there is a Shinji Kagawa, who was regarded as a massive coup when signed by Manchester United but could barely get out of first gear.
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