Leeds United: New signing Ideguchi loaned out to Cultural Leonesa
Ideguchi penned a contract to 2022 yesterday morning before departing to take up a transfer to Spain for the rest of this season. Leeds paid £500,000 to land the Japan international from Gamba Osaka but the Elland Road club have opted against involving him in their current Championship season despite securing a work permit from the Football Association.
Ideguchi’s prospects of receiving a work permit appeared slim due to an inadequate number of international appearances in the past two years but he will appear at this summer’s World Cup having helped Japan to secure automatic promotion for the tournament in Russia.
Leeds are connected to Cultural Leonesa through their tie-up with Qatar’s Aspire Academy and the Championship side loaned midfielder Ouasim Bouy to the Spanish second division club in August. Bouy made only two appearances, however, and had his season-long loan cut short last week.
Ideguchi, who finished his final season in Japan at the beginning of last month, will now see out the European campaign with Leonesa ahead of an appearance at the World Cup in June. Leeds decided to send him on loan when a deal with Gamba was first agreed in December, as a way of allowing the 21-year-old to acclimatise.
Leonesa are fifth from bottom in the Spanish second tier after four wins from 21 games. They play Lorca in their next league game on Sunday. United, however, see the signing of Ideguchi as a coup after his emergence as a regular international.
Japan have capped him 10 times and national coach Vahid Halilhodzic started Ideguchi in a crucial 2-0 win over Australia in August. Ideguchi scored the second goal to guarantee Japan’s involvement in Russia.
His senior career with Gamba Osaka spanned four years and saw him play almost 100 times.
The J League named Ideguchi as its young player of the year in 2016.