By Dan Carter

10th Oct, 2023 | 12:10pm

Fortuna Dusseldorf bosses baffled after Leeds United transfer push for Ao Tanaka

Fortuna Dusseldorf bosses were left baffled after Ao Tanaka’s agent barely pushed to secure his client a transfer this summer, despite interest from Leeds United, according to Sport Bild.

The German outlet reported on Monday (9 October) that the German club’s hierarchy were confused by the lack of interest Tanaka’s agent seemingly had in securing his exit after the Whites expressed their interest in the Japanese international via an email.

Ultimately, Farke’s side opted to sign Ilia Gruev and Glen Kamara to strengthen their midfield in the closing weeks of the transfer window, but the 25-year-old has failed to perform for Dusseldorf so far this season despite entering his third campaign with the German club.

Leeds weren’t the only side interested in signing Tanaka this summer, with fellow German club Stuttgart registering an interest in the Japanese midfielder only for nothing concrete to develop over the course of the transfer window.


The more that comes out about this transfer saga over the summer, the less and less sense that it makes that Tanaka has somehow ended up a Fortuna Dusseldorf player until January as there was more than enough interest in the 25-year-old this summer.

In eight matches so far this season, Tanaka has struggled to find any consistency and has only started four games in the Bundesliga with the Dusseldorf faithful hoping that some time away with his national team will help him rediscover his form at club level.

From a Leeds United perspective, they may well have dodged a bullet in missing out on the 25-year-old this summer as they have brought in two impressive midfielders in his place, with Kamara impressing in his opening five matches for the Whites, including picking up his first assist in the win over Bristol City last time out.

The Elland Road faithful have yet to see the best of Gruev, who is yet to make his first start on English soil since making the switch from Werder Bremen but he has plenty of potential and will hopefully find his feet as he begins to settle in Yorkshire.

But if Tanaka’s situation doesn’t improve in Germany by the time the January transfer window opens, Leeds could well reignite their interest in the 25-year-old, if his agent pushes for a move this time around.

In other Leeds United news, Wilfried Gnonto could be forced onto the bench when he returns from injury after developments at Elland Road