It all started out with Leeds United Director of Football Victor Orta talking about something big from Asia in a Facebook Live Q&A. It ended with Yosuke Ideguchi joining the Whites.
Almost. Worried about his meeting criteria for a work permit, the plan was always to loan Ideguchi out ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. As it came to be, he’d met the eligibility criteria but Leeds stuck by their original plan and the rising star from the Land of the Rising Sun jetted out to join Cultural Leonesa.
Cultural play in La Liga 2, having gained promotion to Spain’s second-tier competition for the first time in their history last season. They have a ‘hook-up’ link with Leeds United in that they are owned by Aspire Academy (Qatar) whose director, Ivan Bravo, is on the board at Elland Road. Additional to that, Leeds United have also officially announced that they have joined the Aspire family.
However the Japanese international has not found it easy to gain game time since arriving in Spain, being limited in the first instance to appearances from the substitute bench. In his four games to date in La Liga 2, Ideguchi has made just four appearances that have totted up to a mere 62 minutes on the pitch.
With this paucity of appearances in mind, Leeds United fans are growing increasingly frustrated at what many are seeing as a lost opportunity.
— Always Leeds United (@AlwaysLeedsUnit) February 11, 2018
The above pair of tweets pretty much sums up the thinking of Leeds United fans over Ideguchi and his limited exposure to football whilst out on loan in Spain with Cultural. However, it has also drawn response from Cultural fans themselves (below).
The unofficial English language Twitter account for Cultural Leonesa have reacted to the concerns of Leeds United fans with the following, rather terse tweet.
So apparently Leeds fans are pissed off because a guy from Japan who doesn't speak a word of Spanish or English in his first experience in Europe is not playing full games in a team he joined less than a month ago.
— CyD Leonesa English (@CyDLeonesa_en) February 11, 2018
In a way it is understandable that Ideguchi is being eased into Spanish football. It is a whole new culture than what he is used to in Japan and it is his first footballing foray outside of his homeland. As well as acclimatising to the style of football being played by Cultural, he also has to acclimatise culturally, his grasp of Spanish and English likely being negligible at best.
However, with Leeds United seemingly not having a settled midfield unit, it is also understandable the frustration their fans feel at seeing such a highly rated youngster not getting any substantial game time.