LEEDS UNITED have lined up their first January transfer by finalising a deal to sign Japan international Yosuke Ideguchi from Gamba Osaka.
The YEP understands that an agreement for Ideguchi was struck last Friday, allowing the midfielder to leave for Elland Road when FIFA’s transfer window opens next month.
Ideguchi is set to be loaned abroad immediately due to Football Association rules which will deny him a work permit for the rest of the English season.
The 21-year-old’s international appearances for Japan fail to meet the quota set by the FA but Leeds see him as a signing for next season and are confident that he will secure a work permit for the 2018-19 term.
Gamba Osaka’s J-League campaign finished a fortnight ago and United see a European loan as a way of preventing Ideguchi remaining inactive in the months ahead. The next Japanese campaign kicks off in the spring.
Leeds have been pursuing Ideguchi since the latter stages of the summer transfer window and decided to tie up the transfer after a board meeting last week.
Ideguchi caught the eye during Japan’s successful qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup, scoring in a 2-0 win over Australia which guaranteed the country’s involvement in Russia.
He struck again in injury-time during a clash between Japan and North Korea over the weekend and speaking to Japanese media, Ideguchi indicated that he was ready to take up a move to Elland Road.
“I think this is a place where I can learn and improve as a player,” he said. “There are opinions that it is better to wait six months (until after the World Cup) but I want to go there without being influenced by people’s opinions.”
The deal between Leeds and Osaka is believed to be worth around £500,000 including bonuses.
This is a place where I can learn and improve as a player. There are opinions that it is better to wait six months (until after the World Cup) but I want to go there without being influenced by people’s opinions.Yosuke Ideguchi
United’s plan to send Ideguchi out on loan next month mirrors the strategy taken by Arsenal after the Gunners signed striker Takuma Asano from Sanfrecce Hiroshima last year.
Asano also failed to qualify for a work permit and moved on a temporary to Bundesliga club Stuttgart a month after arriving at the Emirates.
Ideguchi is a defensive central midfielder who has made 60 appearances for Gamba Osaka. He has nine caps to his name after being handed his senior debut for Japan last year.