In a summer that’s provided a lot more rumours than actual news so far, Leicester City have completed their first signing, bringing in fullback James Justin from Luton Town, for an undisclosed figure, though to be about £6m.
At just 21 years old, Justin clearly fits the current trend of buying young; making the youngest team in the Premier League even younger. Much like many of the club’s young stars, he also arrives more experienced than most of his age bracket, a regular selection through the majority of three seasons in the lower leagues.
It was certainly an impressive run of performances too, with those three seasons including Luton’s Young Player of the Year (twice), back-to-back promotions, a place in this season’s League One Team of the Year and even a win over Bayern Munich in Europe (although admittedly that was in an under 11s tournament).
So he fits the transfer policy, but he’s also a perfect match for the new tactical profile adopted under Claude Puel, which it looks pretty clear Brendan Rodgers will keep up. Much like Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira, he’s an impressive athlete capable of getting up and down the pitch, but probably does his best work on the attack, where he contributed an impressive three goals and 9 assists last season.
It will be interesting to see where exactly Justin fits into the squad, and the knock on effect this could have on some other fringe players. As a primarily right sided defender, he presumably comes in as a replacement for the departing Danny Simpson as RB2, but he played mainly as a LB this season, and could offer some versatility.
With Ben Chilwell and Christian Fuchs locking down that LB position, but a strong season might leave the Foxes more comfortable to let Fuchs leave next year. His best chance for playing time early on looks to be behind Ricardo on the right. If that is the case, it’s not a strong sign of support for Daniel Amartey.
The 24 year old had struggled to find himself a place before impressing as a second choice RB early last year, but a nasty injury meant Rodgers has never had the chance to see him on the pitch, and he may already have dropped down the pecking order. Will he get a chance to play in midfield again? He seems unlikely to push out Wilfred Ndidi or Hamza Choudhury.
Some have also floated the possibility that if he impresses at RB, it could allow the team to push Ricardo back into midfield and reduce the need for another winger.