Ah, Yosuke Ideguchi. That one didn’t quite go to plan, did it?
Leeds United, A* for ambition F for execution.
Japan international Yosuke Ideguchi made an unprecedented switch when he joined the Whites from Japanese side Gamba Osaka in January 2018, for a fee believed to be in around £900,000, per Transfermarkt.
What made this palaver that bit more humorous is that Leeds were essentially forced into rushing the purchase due to rumours likening him to N’Golo Kante. You know, that man who is widely considered the greatest defensive midfielder in the world.
Signing players on the basis of ill-informed comparisons is the same old flawed logic that has seen hopeful clubs splashing out silly amounts of cash on small, left-footed South Americans these past ten-or-so years in pursuit of the ultimate prize: the next Lionel Messi.
It doesn’t work, it will never work, but for some bizarre reason, boardrooms are always sucked into it. Probably the same reason we splash out on 15-fold accumulators on a weekly basis (it’ll come in one day chaps, and then we’ll be laughing).
Japanese football expert Sean Carroll was quick to dispel the rumours, marking Ideguchi off as a bog standard defensive midfielder.
Speaking to Leeds Live at the time, Carrol 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.”
So, how has he done at Elland Road? (*checks notes*) Ah, right. He hasn’t played a single game for the club, was loaned out to 2. Bundesliga outfit and only appeared seven times this season. Surely it can’t get any worst for him…
What’s that? Bielsa announced that he isn’t part of his long-term plans last year and has greenlighted his sale this summer? Well, that brings that short and pathetic ‘next Kante’ dream to a close.
Leeds United fans, did you ever think Ideguchi stood a chance? Will this go down as one of the club’s most bizarre transfers in recent memory? Let us know in the comments below…