Marcelo Bielsa has cast doubt over Yosuke Ideguchi’s future at Leeds United by admitting the Japan international is unlikely to play for the club this season.
Bielsa said he was uncertain if Ideguchi would stay with Leeds beyond either of this month’s transfer deadlines with the midfielder on the very fringes of his plans for the Championship.
Ideguchi, who joined Leeds in a £500,000 deal in January, was omitted from the list of squad numbers issued by United last month and did not feature in yesterday’s opening league game against Stoke City.
The 21-year-old’s career has meandered since he arrived in England from Gamba Osaka seven months ago. Leeds sent him on loan to Spanish second division side Cultural Leonesa during the second half of last season, with a view to helping him acclimatise to European football, but Ideguchi barely played and was subsequently left out of Japan’s World Cup squad.
His contract runs to 2022 but despite speaking highly of his professionalism, Bielsa said he did not see Ideguchi as an option to start or provide cover in any midfield position.
“He’s a player who during the six weeks of pre-season worked very well and very hard,” Bielsa said. “I saw a very positive evolution. But I don’t know if he will stay with us or not.
“Usually I choose two players for each position so they have a possibility to play. I’m going to be sincere. He’s not a second option in any position of our team so it wouldn’t be fair for me to say I want him to stay because I couldn’t offer him the time as a player he deserves.”
United’s head coach admitted that Ideguchi’s inability to speak English or Spanish had created a language barrier and revealed that Leeds were using Japanese analysts to aid Ideguchi’s development via the Internet.
“If he stays with us, I will do everything I can to help him as I did until now,” Bielsa said. “He’s a very valuable professional. He dignifies the Japanese people and I have a deep admiration for Japan.
“Because there is this language barrier, he doesn’t understand English or Spanish. As an expression of support for his professionalism, when we analyse his game we use a Japanese friend via Skype so he can get the information he needs in his native tongue. He deserves that we treat him like that.”