05.10. - Championship
Belgian top-flight club St Truiden fancy Leeds United target Yosuke Ideguchi and they stand a much better chance of pulling a deal off.
Leeds have been trying to land the 21-year-old Japan international midfielder since director of football Victor Orta revealed the club were close to signing a "big surprise from Asia" last month.
But the Whites now have serious competition for the Gamba Osaka star, who is believed to have a a £700,000 buy-out clause in his contract.
Reports in Japan claim St Truiden, currently fifth in the Belgian First Division, are planning to make a move in the January transfer window.
And that could be too soon for Leeds to counter as Ideguchi would still not automatically qualify for a UK work permit by then.
The player does not meet the Football Association’s points-based criteria but Arsenal encountered a similar issue when they signed striker Takuma Asano from J-League club Sanfrecce Hiroshima a year ago.
Asano was refused permission to play in the Premier League and departed on loan to German club Stuttgart last season. He has remained in the Bundesliga with Stuttgart this term.
Last month, Ideguchi admitted it was his plan to “go abroad” and follow other leading Japanese players to Europe on the back of advanced transfer negotiations between Leeds and Gamba Osaka.