Making the right noises: Leeds’ deal for World Cup hopeful is sign of progress

Josh Challies

Leeds United have had a turbulent few seasons, where they’ve lacked stability, and the loss of Garry Monk in the summer provided a huge blow as it appeared the former Swansea City boss had got the Peacocks back on the right track.

Fortunately, though, it seems Monk wasn’t the key ingredient to Leeds’ rise as the Yorkshire giants have started the new Championship campaign strongly, standing unbeaten after the opening six matches of the season and sit second in the standings.

Conceding just two goals so far, the back-line is crucial to Leeds’ fortune this season but the need for stand-out attacking options is clear if the club are to secure a return to the Premier League for the first time since their shock relegation in 2004.

New signing Pierre-Michel Lasogga has certainly hit the ground running after scoring a brace on his debut but Leeds cannot rely on one-man to push the side forward, which is why a reported deal being completed ahead of the January transfer window is so important.

Midfielder Calvin Phillips, 21, has been instrumental this season with three goals and he could be set to be handed a new central-midfield partner in the form of Japanese international Yosuke Ideguchi, who’s already being highlighted as one-to-watch in the World Cup next summer.

Yahoo Japan report Leeds are ready to match last year’s J-League Young Player of the Year’s £700k release-clause to bring him to England, although a deal could be held up by red tape as Leeds would require a work permit for their ‘big surprise from Asia’.

With three caps to his name, Ideguchi has not made the required number of international appearances to earn a work permit through the initial process but the Peacocks could appeal the decision and push the player through as a highly-rated talent.

Whilst not a stand-out name yet, Ideguchi would provide Leeds with a monstrous boost to their midfield and would help create a top-class spine through the team that can lead the club to promotion; which would include goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald, defensive duo Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson, as well as striking ace Lasogga.

It is debatable though whether Ideguchi would immediately slot into Leeds’ line-up as manager Thomas Christiansen already has an abundance of quality options in that area; Calvin Phillips, Ronaldo Viera, Eunan O’Kane and Mateusz Klich included.

For a measly £700k though, Leeds would be made to turn down a deal and the capture of Ideguchi would present tremendous sell-on value, particularly if the 21-year-old stars at the World Cup this summer having already helped Japan seal their place in Russia by scoring his first international goal in the victory over Australia last month.

Landing Ideguchi would almost certainly come down to the appointment of former Japanese international Toshiya Fujita as Leeds’ head of recruitment for Asia in the summer and it shows that Leeds are eyeing the stability that they’ve lacked in recent years.

Ideguchi would therefore be more than just one signing and would instead pave the way for better fortune in the coming years and solid investment in the transfer market, which Leeds need if they’re to claw their way back into the top-flight and stay there.

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