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Building a bench: Dennis Praet

A strong 3rd option

Belgium v Iceland - UEFA Nations League A Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images

It looks like Brendan Rodgers may soon have the extra attacking midfielder he’s been targeting, as Leicester City are reportedly “close” on a deal for Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet.

This was a potential deal that has been rumoured on and off previously this summer. At the time, the suggestion was a very reasonable fee of around £15m, but it seems now that it will take a fair amount more, although LCFC Live have reported that Rachid Ghezzal could be included in the deal (unlikely but please please please).

The ever reliable Kristof Terreur, now our go-to on any Belgian headed to Leicester, suggests that the Italian side are looking for €26m (about £24m).

Just because they want that doesn’t mean that’s what Leicester have offered but that’s what you have to expect in the current transfer climate, especially post-Maguire.

For such a fee, many will wonder exactly what Praet brings to the squad that they don’t already have and the answer is...nothing. But that’s just fine, really.

While his goal and assist numbers don’t pop off the page at you (2 and 3 last year), he was an important creative player for the Serie A side last year, finishing 2nd on the team in xA (expected assists). He also offered a decent defensive contribution and would provide a reliable 3rd midfield option behind Youri Tielemans and James Maddison.

Is £20m too much for a backup? Not anymore, really. Some fees we’ve reportedly paid with the intent of filling out the subs bench in recent windows:

  • Rachid Ghezzal, £12m
  • Çağlar Söyüncü, £19m
  • Kelechi Iheanacho, £30m
  • Danny Ward, A GOALKEEPER, £13m

Now consider that the only depth we currently have at the position are Andy King and a very unhappy Adrien Silva, who may well be gone by Thursday afternoon. It was important to bring someone in.

We may have spent a bit to get there, but with the addition of Praet Leicester would have a fairly deep squad, with plenty of useful options to bring off the bench.

Belgian Soccer Golden Shoe 2014 Gala evening
Yeah. If he’s good enough Youri, he’s good enough for anyone
Photo by William Van Hecke/Corbis via Getty Images

Ward is a solid keeper, Christian Fuchs and Wes Morgan offer exceptional experience at the back, while James Justin and Benkovic are just as talented and exciting for the future.

Choudhury and Mendy can both hold down the defensive midfield spot, while Harvey Barnes, Demarai Gray and Kelechi Iheancho may be inconsistent, but their ceilings are as a high as you could ask for a trio of backups, and each could offer impact off the bench this year.

The only spot on the pitch that was really lacking a reliable fill in option was this one, and Praet would make an excellent signing, especially since money isn’t exactly tight at the moment.