This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Leeds United appeared to strike lucky with Yosuke Ideguchi when shifting him on after a disappointing spell at the club, as they somehow managed to make a profit on a player who never even pulled on the White strip, let alone never play a single minute for the club.
The Japan international was brought to Elland Road in January 2018 from J-League outfit Gamba Osaka for a fee that had been announced as ‘undisclosed‘, although the Yorkshire Evening Post had claimed it had been worth around the £500k-mark.
There was a clear excitement regarding his potential and the talent he had to offer, with comparisons to N’Golo Kante being drawn (although it was admitted to be rather exaggerated). However, that did not stop Japanese football expert, Sean Carroll, from suggesting that Ideguchi could be a decent addition.
He said: “He’s a no-nonsense hard worker who will always put a shift in the middle of the park. More of a steady presence than star turn, he wins the ball, looks after it, then tries to make things happen with simple, no frills play.
“He only found the net four times for Gamba Osaka this season, but also provided seven assists from central midfield – the most in the side.”
Ideguchi originally arrived in Yorkshire on what was believed to be a four-and-a-half-year deal, however he failed to make a single appearance for the club in his 20 months that he was tied down to Leeds.
Ideguchi spent the second half of the 17/18 season on loan with Cultural Leonesa although that did not go well as he managed to make just five appearances that year (TransferMarkt).
The arrival of Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds did not help his case for a chance to play at the club either, as the manager admitted shortly after arriving that the Japan international did not feature in his plans moving forward.
Indeed, the midfielder would end up going to Germany to play football for SpVgg Greuther Fürth, but he saw his playing time limited there because of injuries – he had to miss a total of 19 matches because of various ailments.
The 23-year-old managed to make just seven appearances for the 2.Bundesliga outfit, scoring once, before having to return to England.
As mentioned, Leeds still managed to make a profit on his signature despite being, potentially considered, a disaster of a signing for the club. According to BBC Sport’s Adam Pope, the Whites managed to receive a transfer fee from Gamba Osaka in excess of the £500k they paid for him almost two years prior, where he is interestingly worth around £630k (TransferMarkt).
How the Whites managed to recoup their money and more on him, perhaps, will be one of football’s biggest transfer mysteries.
Leeds fans, what did you make of the club’s ability to get more money for Ideguchi? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them below!
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