Yosuke Ideguchi is a 25-year-old, right-footed box to box midfielder that has played most of his career in the J League for Gamba Osaka.

At just 21 and after a strong 2017 season in Japan, which saw him make his international debut in the World Cup qualifiers, he would leave for Leeds for a fee of £500k. A move I would imagine he regrets as it prompted years of wasted development.

Despite being a full international he hadn’t played enough minutes to be granted a work permit. It appears the plan from Leeds was to loan him out to maintain fitness, assuming it was only a matter of time until he reached enough international appearances to qualify.

However, the loan move would prove a disaster as he would only register 107 minutes in La Liga 2 for Leonesa. It is completely understandable that a young player on his own in a foreign land with a different culture would struggle to get a footing which may explain his poor form. The lack of games ultimately resulted in him not being selected for Japan.

Celtic Way: Yosuke Ideguchi's heatmatp shows a central midfielder who likes to get on the ball in the right half-spaceYosuke Ideguchi's heatmatp shows a central midfielder who likes to get on the ball in the right half-space

The following season he would be loaned to Bundesliga 2 side Greuther Furth where initially it looked like his career was back on track after scoring on his debut. However, his unlucky streak continued in Europe as he ruptured his cruciate ligament after only making four appearances, missing most of the season. He would return for the final three games but it wasn’t enough to convince Marcelo Biesla to keep him in Yorkshire. Leeds would cut their losses and Ideguchi returned to Gamba Osaka in Japan after only playing around 500 minutes in Europe.

Returning midway through the J League season he would help Osaka to a 7th place finish only losing three of the 12 games he took part in.

While back in Japan, Ideguchi became part of the national team for the East Asian Football Championship. This is a secondary team made mainly of home league players. He has 15 caps in total however just three of these came in top tier events, with his best moment being a wonder strike in a 2-0 win over Australia. He hasn’t featured for Japan’s first team since 2017 but a move to Celtic could reignite his international career.

In 2020 Ideguchui looked to be back to his best for Gamba Osaka guiding them to 2nd place in J League. However, in 2021 with increased fixtures and travel from the AFC Champions League, Gamba Osaka and Ideguchi suffered, as they plummeted down to 13th in the table. This appears to be a running theme for smaller squads in Japan if they qualify for continental competitions. Ange’s Yokohama Marinos side would drop to 9th the season after winning the league.

Data Analysis

Radars created are done so via Wyscout and take the maximum and minimum data from the Scottish Premiership based on position and playing time and compare them to metrics from the scouted player.

Ideguchi appears a good fit for Ange’s system seeming to offer a combination of what Ismiala Soro and James McCarthy provide. He has the mobility to press and drive forward from deep and go with a good footballing brain.

Celtic Way:

Celtic Way:

This can be seen in his defensive data below as he engages a lot defensively with high success rates. He had 10.83 successful defensive actions p90 which would be around the highest when compared to his counterparts in Scotland and a good defensive duel success rate of 62%. He backs this up with numerous PAdj interception p90 at 5.59 and defends his own box well with 0.36 shots blocked p90.

Ideguchi has no real aerial presence being only 5ft7.

Celtic Way:

On the ball he is a deep lying midfielder that recycles and distributes the ball. He has a high passing accuracy of 86%.

Celtic Way:

Celtic Way:

When he moves the ball forward, he is also effective with a strong 74% forward passing accuracy. In 2021 he showed very little creatively with only 0.03xA p90 but the season prior he was much more effective as were the rest of his side with his xA around four times higher.

Celtic would be hoping to see more of his 2020 form rather than 2021 if the transfer is completed.

Celtic Way:


Initially, I had heard worrying things about Ideguchi from various sources which had me concerned - a player whose form had dipped in 2021 and already failed in Europe.

However, after looking into the reasons behind his situation last season and his European misfortune there’s no doubt Ideguchi must have a strong character to keep coming back and proving doubters wrong.

He is extremely talented and it's easy to see why Ange has picked him to come to Celtic. This signing wouldn’t even fall into the territory of a gamble, rather than smart scouting finding value in an undervalued player.

He suits Ange’s system with mobility and defensive intelligence and will only get better playing under a great coach that believes in him.