Ao Tanaka, a transfer target for Leeds United, is currently in negotiations to go from Fortuna Dusseldorf to Stuttgart.
The 25-year-old was reportedly approached by Leeds in August with an offer of £3.2 million, but a deal never went through because it was less than his £4.3 million release clause.
Tanaka was eager to transfer to Elland Road after Fortuna was demoted to Bundesliga 2, but Leeds decided to pursue other targets since they weren’t sure Tanaka was the proper addition.
Tanaka was disappointed to learn that he would have to stay at Fortuna. But his team hasn’t ruled out selling him in January, and journalist Florian Plettenberg of Sky in Germany says it is likely to happen.
The fourth-placed Stuttgart in the Bundesliga is in negotiations with the Japan international for a January transfer that might only cost £3 million, which is £1.3 million less than his release clause.
Tanaka, a target for Leeds, has a new club.
It was never expected that Leeds would go back for Tanaka, especially considering their present midfield predicament and their resistance in the summer.
Glen Kamara and Ilia Gruev, who joined from Werder Bremen and Rangers, respectively, for a combined total of over £10 million, were both signed by Leeds later than expected in the summer.
Although Gruev has really struggled for minutes, Kamara and Ethan Ampadu have formed a really strong relationship in central midfield since Kamara joined the team.
Given that Archie Gray is expected to return to the midfield when Djed Spence switches to right-back, it would have been illogical for Leeds to pursue Tanaka.
Given his international background, Tanaka would have made an intriguing addition for Leeds in the Championship, but that ship has most likely gone.