Yosuke Ideguchi will be a risk for Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou

With the news, Daizen Maeda’s transfer seems like a done deal, Celtic also appears to be getting closer to another Japanese target. This one is perhaps a little less glamorous but could be no less vital than Maeda’s signing.

Central midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi is an interesting target for Celtic. With a previous attempt to break British football being far from a success, this will be seen as a gamble by many observers, and it would be a fair guess to jump to that conclusion, but I don’t think so on this occasion that will be the case.

Now 25 years old and back in Japan, Ideguchi will have his detractors. They will report a failed transfer to Leeds United and will claim that this is a player who has failed to settle outside of Japan before and as such will likely fail again .

Yosuke Ideguchi. Photo: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce

There is of course a chance that this will happen, but there is a clear mitigation surrounding Ideguchi’s move to faltering Leeds, and this is due in large part to how his move has been handled by his club rather than by the player himself. As such, I think there are reasons why this time around there would be a lot less bet taken by Ange Postecoglou and Celtic. Instead, if we manage the movement well, there’s every chance Celtic will sign a player gem.

Ideguchi signed for Leeds for £ 500,000 as he just turned 21 for Japanese side Gamba Osaka, the same side Celtic are looking to sign him from now. At the time, he starred as the 2016 J-League Rookie of the Year and was just starting to establish himself in the Japan national team.

Upon signing, Ideguchi was immediately on loan to Cultural Leonesa, a Spanish lower league team in Leon, in northern Spain. This was due to an unfortunate strategic partnership between Leeds and Cultural Leonesa with the Spaniard often described at the time as the Yorkshire club’s ‘sister’ team. It was an arrangement that never worked.

Yosuke Ideguchi of Japan in action during the match between Japan and Ghana at Nissan Stadium .. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura / Getty Images)

Ideguchi found himself moving to a club playing a different style of football and to a country where he did not speak the language. It didn’t make sense to ask a young player who, despite having an exciting reputation, had little real football experience and needed to give him some initial time to familiarize himself with the English language, the culture and the philosophy of football. Being asked to move to Spain so soon after an unveiling fanfare was a move both sides of this deal will surely regret.

Instead, a move to another English club might have made more sense for Ideguchi, if it weren’t for even a little time to settle in alongside his new team-mates. But it must be said that today’s Leeds United and the organization exhibited at the club are a long way from the time when Ideguchi arrived at Elland Road. The player suffered from being lost in a club with no real leadership, in a state of flux and at an age where support to settle down would have been as vital as anything offered from a footballing point of view. Ideguchi received neither.

After this spell in Spain, Ideguchi was once again on a trip, this time to German wrestlers Greuther Furth. Here, his luck continued on a downward trajectory. He injured himself and had few chances to shine, making just seven appearances and scoring one goal. The injury also led Japan’s brightest star to be almost completely forgotten, as he missed out on a spot on the 2018 World Cup squad. From rookie of the year and groundbreaking national star, Ideguchi had failed more self-confident, was injured and on his way back to Japan.

Yosuke Ideguchi. Photo: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce

Gamba Osaka took his protégé back under his wing as Ideguchi returned to his former club and replaced Japanese football legend Yasuyuki Konno. He immediately took Konno’s place in the central midfield and set about rebuilding his confidence and reputation.

After a total of 15 appearances, all on loan and not a single competitive game for Leeds United, Ideguchi has returned to playing regularly with 80 appearances in domestic competitions and another six in the AFC Champions League. He has 15 caps in Japan and has scored two goals and if there was a time to try to break European football again, it’s now.

Part of the reason for Ideguchi’s reputation on his first trip was not just the Rookie of the Year award, it was a stunning goal for Japan against Australia that saw Japan win. qualify for the World Cup. As such, the reputation for spectacular has followed the player when instead his key attributes as a player could not be more different.

Ideguchi is a central midfielder with a defensive mind, he can play and plays as a number eight, but I would see his best qualities in a number six role, as a deep playmaker, although in truth. , he is equally skilled in both roles. He’s a short passer of the ball rather than a player playing the Hollywood long diagonal and he’s a player who enjoys doing the dirty work for the team. Something often undervalued but vital for any club.

At 5ft 7in, Ideguchi is far from the tallest and he’s not one to win aerial duels. What it does is quietly and effectively launch attacks and interrupt transitions. His reading of the game is exemplary and while tenacious in the tackle when needed, his sense of position means he’s more likely to intercept or steal the ball from an opponent’s toe than to emerge. of a crisp tackle and take the adulation of the crowd.

In terms of physical attributes, Ideguchi is a strong player, naturally fit, has endurance in spades and good agility – attributes ideal for the Postecoglou philosophy. It might lack strength, its build is quite light, but it has decent acceleration and an acceptable overall pace but far from spectacular. However, his short, but not that long, passes and long range shots are hallmarks of his game.

Yosuke Ideguchi. Photo: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce

Perhaps Ideguchi’s most obvious strengths are his clear vision on the pitch, the fact that he is a committed team player and has a good level of composure, especially when he is under pressure on the ball, he is the ideal type to squeeze the opposition, retrieve the ball and launch attacks.

Ideguchi also doesn’t offer bravery in and out of possession, his work rate is very impressive, and he’s an aggressive player to start, but not reckless, and his card count in Japanese football is low. Its obvious weaknesses from a defensive standpoint come from the ball, where it occasionally goes out, and its lack of height allied with a lack of true leap over the player, means the direction and timing of challenges in the air are also an area of ​​the game where he could improve.

The difference this time around for Ideguchi, if he were to join Celtic, is that he is not a rookie. The club that signs him has a plan for him, he will suit the team’s philosophy and Postecoglou knows his qualities as well as his weaknesses. He will join a tight-knit team and he will have Kyogo Furuhashi as a person with whom he can communicate as well as the probable signing of Daizen Maeda as well. He will also know that he is wanted.

The player himself will also be more mature for his experiences, as crippling as they were. He has regained his confidence, but to rebuild his reputation and truly come back to fulfilling his potential, probably having a successful career outside of Japan is the way to complete the recovery. As such, Ideguchi will have a point to prove to himself and those who may have fired him.

Celtic will have a starving player in Yosuke Ideguchi, and one who looks to seize the opportunity to show he was written off far too soon. At 25, Celtic may well be on the verge of signing a truly talented footballer and a player who will enter his prime years, a true team player and who could be a vital cog in Celtic’s midfield.

It will be considered a gamble to sign Ideguchi, given his previous experiences in British football. But for me, it’s a bet that both sides of this transfer deal should embrace.

He is a superbly talented footballer at his post. And Celtic, under Postecoglou, could be the perfect place for the player to face unfair and unwarranted judgments about his career so far, and that will be entirely to Celtic’s advantage.

Niall J