Ao Tanaka was strongly linked with a move to Leeds United in the final fortnight of the summer transfer window and on Tuesday, the Fortuna Dusseldorf midfielder captained Japan to a 4-2 win over Turkey.

The 25-year-old was the subject of interest from Leeds in the summer – as Daniel Farke looked to bring in a couple of midfielders. In the end, Leeds got Glen Kamara and Ilia Gruev from Rangers and Werder.

But Tanaka was linked, too. It comes after a couple of decent seasons in German football, and then the World Cup in Qatar where he impressed – scoring in a 2-1 victory over Spain. Japan got to the last 16.

Japan  v Turkey -International Friendly
Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images

Even in this international break, Tanaka scored in a 4-1 win over Germany last week – contributing to the sacking of Hansi Flick. On Tuesday, he won his 21st cap – captaining Japan in a friendly against Turkey.

The midfielder played 90 minutes as Japan scored four goals for a second consecutive match to beat Turkey 4-2. The star of the show was Stade Reims’ Keito Nakamura, who scored two first-half goals.

But Tanaka was impressive. He completed 47 of 51 passes, three duels won, six recoveries and won two headers. In the midfield to break things up. No surprise, Bild said Leeds made a £3.2m bid for Tanaka.

Japan v Turkey - International Friendly
Photo by Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Tanaka linked with Leeds: Captained Japan to win over Turkey

He looks a real player. Energetic and clearly, a leader. But a move to Leeds now looks unlikely, with the signings of Kamara and Gruev leaving us well-stocked in the middle of the park moving forward.

Tanaka will be hoping to help Dusseldorf gain promotion back to the top tier of German football this season – but there is always a chance that interest could resurface in the January transfer window.

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