Leeds United’s capture of Japan star Yosuke Ideguchi came initially from words spoken by Director of Football Victor Orta in a Facebook Live cast, and these words were then added to by comments from the player himself carried by Yahoo Japan.
The rising star from the Land of the Rising Sun was announced as a Leeds United player during the opening throes of the winter 2018 transfer window, before being sent out of loan to Cultural Leonesa who play in Spain’s La Liga 2 competition. Cultural are fighting to stay in the second tier, with Ideguchi meant to be adding a soupçon of steel and class to the Spanish side.
However, that doesn’t seem to be a plan that is panning out well for either Leeds United or Ideguchi himself. The plan had always been to sign the young Japan international midfielder, before a loan out of the club amidst initial worries about his suitability in gaining a work permit. That club was Cultural Leonesa, a side in a slightly more than informal relationship through their joint connection of the Leeds United-Ivan Bravo-Aspire Academy web.
His time in Spain was meant to be to acclimatise him to a style, and level, of football that is totally different to that played in Japan and the J-League. His time in Spain has been limited to just five appearances and a paltry 107 minutes – never playing more than 45 minutes and playing as little as just one minute. He’s not even been in the matchday squad for the last two games.
With all this in mind, one is destined to ask a very simple question – why? Why is he there? Why is he not getting game time whilst he’s there? Why, just why? I mean Leeds had to scrap with a number of interested clubs to prise the highly regarded 21-year-old away from his homeland for the first time. One cultural upheaval in leaving his home land was replaced by another ‘Cultural’ upheaval as he ended up in Leon via a brief stopover in Leeds.
Why is a player destined to play for Japan in this summer’s World Cup in Russia not even able to now scrape a bench place in a set of second division strugglers? This is not La Liga, opponents are not your Atletico and Real Madrids, nor your Valencias and Barcelonas – yet he cannot get in to a side that is in a real struggle at the bottom end of the table with just 32 points from 29 games.
I suppose the writing was already escrito on the wall with the way that Cultural dealt with another Leeds United loanee Ouasim Buoy. He spent the first half of the season with the Leon-based side, hardly featured and ended up back at Elland Road in January. It is a case of reciprocity as Ideguchi swaps places with Bouy at Cultural Leonesa ,but life is now imitating art with the way that he is getting less and less game time.