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Leicester City Summer Shopping 2022: Central Defenders

Or “What do you buy for the team that has everything but the ability to defend set pieces?”

Leicester City v Burnley - Premier League
The only thing missing is him awkwardly holding a club jersey up to his track suit.
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Welcome to what I expect to be the least-controversial list of the Summer Shopping season: the central defenders. Do we need one? No. We need at least one. Here’s an ugly fact: the best metric to predict whether a player will suffer an injury is “how often they’ve been injured in the past.” Last year, literally every defender was injured at some point during the season. I’m pretty sure every defender was injured at the same time during the season.

So, what are we looking for here? Two things, in particular, got my attention this time around size and a mean streak. Leicester have been accused of playing “too nice” on account of their often playing “too nice.” Let’s see if we can do something about that.

The player ratings are the rating from WhoScored.com. This time around, I’m using their rating when the player starts at their primary position. The prices come from Transfermarkt.com. The relationship between the site’s prices and the actual prices isn’t the strongest, but we have to start somewhere. Also, instead of listing the preferred foot, we’re going to list the players’ height, as that seems far more important when talking about defenders, vis-à-vis set pieces.

Players Linked to Leicester City

James Tarkowski
Age: 29
Height: 6’1”
Club: Burnley
WhoScored Rating: 6.97
Transfermarkt Price: $24.2m

Leicester City v Burnley - Premier League
I don’t need to caption this, do I? You know how sophomoric I am, you see the image, you fill in the blanks.
Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Tarkowski has been linked to City for years now, and no wonder he’s a big fellow, he’s been the leader of one of the league’s meanest defenses, and now he’s available on a free so you can just toss that transfermarkt price out the window. He’s been consistently excellent for a long time and, while he’s not the most clever defender on the ball, he will keep the ball out of the back of your net and yell at people who aren’t doing their job. That is to say, he’d be a pretty perfect fit.

Bremer
Age: 25
Height: 6’2”
Club: Torino
WhoScored Rating: 7.22
Transfermarkt Price: $33m

Torino FC v AS Roma - Serie A
Anyone who can look that serious dressed as a Bennigan’s waiter is not to be messed with.
Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

It would be a very Leicester City thing to sign their first Brazilian player and have him be essentially the opposite of everything you associate with Brazil football. Bremer’s a beast who relishes a physical battle and will never be accused of being “too nice.” He will be accused of being “rash” or “too aggressive”, so there’s some risk in that department, but he’s very good at what he does.

Levi Colwill
Age: 19
Height: 6’2”
Club: Chelsea
WhoScored Rating: 7.08
Transfermarkt Price: $5.5m

Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final
Scoring that goal that promoted Forest...
Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

If you saw the Championship Play-Off final, you saw Colwill responsible for a very unfortunate own-goal. But, you also saw a very calm, very mature 19-year old looking every bit the part of a veteran defender in a crucial match. Everything about him oozes professionalism; think “The Southampton Fofana” and you’re not too far off. He’s still quite thin and not the dominant presence he will be, but we’re not in Benkovic territory, either. Chelsea would be fools to sell him, but Chelsea have been foolish in the past.

William Saliba
Age: 21
Height: 6’3”
Club: Arsenal
WhoScored Rating: 6.83
Transfermarkt Price: $30m

Arsenal v Leicester City - Premier League 2
“Siri, show me two players I never expected to see in the same photo.”
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Saliba’s been recently linked with Leicester, probably in part due to his friendship with Wesley Fofana. His performance to-date isn’t quite up to what you’d like, but you watch him play and you can’t help but to dream of the potential. He’s already a collected defender who is very safe with the ball, and he has no real weaknesses, but he doesn’t yet excel at winning the ball in the air or on the ground.

Other of Interest

Nathan Collins
Age: 21
Height: 6’3”
Club: Burnley
WhoScored Rating: 7.08
Transfermarkt Price: $5.5m

Burnley v Leicester City - Premier League
Collins attempting an unorthodox tackle against Daka
Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Tarkowski’s partner in relegated Burnley’s back line, Collins is an equally attractive proposition, albeit a proposition of a different sort. Of all the defenders on this list, Collins is by some margin the best when it comes to moving with the ball and distributing it. That isn’t to say that he’s lax defensively; he’s strong in the air and puts his body about in the area. He is prone to the rush of blood to the head, but, as you may be aware, we’re not counting off for that today.

Robert Dickie
Age: 26
Height: 6’3”
Club: QPR
WhoScored Rating: 7.14
Transfermarkt Price: $3.3m

Queens Park Rangers v Luton Town - Sky Bet Championship
Am I the only one who thinks we could have used a little more of this at the King Power last year?
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

I have been an admirer of Dickie for years in spite of the fact that he plays for QPR and in spite of (or perhaps because of) his name. He’s a rock-solid defender who seldom gets caught out and can help you in the air. His report card does come with the note “Doesn’t play well with others” as he has been known to leave one in on opponents. I can live with that.

Danilho Doekhi
Age: 23
Height: 6’3”
Club: Vitesse
WhoScored Rating: 6.91
Transfermarkt Price: $5.5m

AZ Alkmaar v Vitesse - Dutch Eredivisie
Would the Premiership be a bridge too far for the Vitesse defender?
Photo by Pim Waslander/Soccrates/Getty Images

Doekhi is a slightly different type of player than the others on the list. He’s good at all the things a defender should be good at (heading, tackling, paying attention to where he’s supposed to be), but the kicker here is that he doesn’t have any obvious flaws. There’s nothing on his disciplinary record to be worried about and he’s a competent passer so long as the pass is to the midfielder in front of him. He’s probably less of a future star than the kind of competent defender you don’t realize you’re missing until he’s gone. Plus, he has two superfluous “h”s in his name, and don’t we journos just love that sort of thing?


Now that I’ve run the rule over the defenders, what do you think? Let us know what you think.

Poll

Who should Leicester bring in at centre-half?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    James Tarkowski
    (14 votes)
  • 28%
    Bremer
    (18 votes)
  • 15%
    Levi Colwill
    (10 votes)
  • 14%
    William Saliba
    (9 votes)
  • 4%
    Nathan Collins
    (3 votes)
  • 4%
    Robert Dickie
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    Danilho Doekhi
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    Someone else (please specify in the comments)
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    No one! Our back line is a brick wall!
    (1 vote)
64 votes total Vote Now