Leicester City football club are so desperate for some help in central midfield that they’ve jumped the gun by exactly a month and may have completed a transfer on the 1st of December (although of course it won't go through until January).
Leicester and Genk have agreed a deal for Nigeria midfielder Wilfred Ndidi to join the Foxes in January in a £15m, 5-year contract— Colin NOT Collins (@ColinUdoh) December 1, 2016
The deal was originally reported in the Belgian newspaper Het Laaste, also claiming that the fee includes add ons that could take it up to £22m (I must admit the article is in dutch, which is not my strength. It could be €22m or about £18.5m). The deal would require a work permit, which has not yet been approved, but is not expected to be a problem.
Now, the Foxes are desperate to replace a certain someone, and they might be signing a defensive midfielder from a smaller French speaking side, but we’ve been through this before with Mendy and let’s not jump to any conclusions.
Wilfred Ndidi runs, runs and keeps on running. Always had top results during his medicals at Genk. #LCFC— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) December 1, 2016
Ok, I’m sold. Ndidi is Kanté, case closed.
In all seriousness though, he doesn’t only possess a motor to compare to Kanté’s incredible drive, he gets results, too. He’s made two tackles per game more than any other player in the Europa League, with more interceptions than any midfielder.
Equally intriguingly, for a team often lacking is size is that Ndidi, who has filled in at times in the back line, is 6’2” and has also won more aerial battles than any other midfielder in the competition.
All comparisons to last season aside, Ndidi does look a lot like what this team needs right now. He can cover the whole midfield, he breaks up play and stops passes along the ground and through the air. He could really help to alleviate the pressure on the back four and free Danny Drinkwater to get forwards a bit more on the ball.
I can tell you it's only speculation. I don't speak about players that go in and go out - Claudio isn’t giving out any news on this one, but that’s hardly unusual
At only 19 years old, he also fits in with the club’s current trend towards getting younger after the likes of Demarai Gray, Daniel Amartey, Ahmed Musa and Bartosz Kapustka were brought in during the last two windows.
This could be another move aimed at setting the club up for the future, rather than improving them today, and I’d be fine with that. Of course it might also make them a lot better right away and I’d be fine with that too.