Here’s the world’s easiest quiz: Which Leicester defender played the most minutes in the 2021/22 campaign in spite of being benched for the month of May? Hint: He didn’t feature in the back three of our opening match.
If you guessed “Çağlar Söyüncü,” give yourself a prize. The Turkey defender was ever-present when Wesley Fofana and/or Jonny Evans were out with injuries, and he still played regularly until the last month of the season when he just disappeared.
Our question is: Why?
Seriously, why is Söyüncü out in the wilderness when he played so often (and pretty well) for us last season? We haven’t heard any journos ask the question of Rodgers, or, if they have, we haven’t heard the answer. So, with little or no information to go on, let’s see if we can work it our ourselves!
There’s A Transfer In The Works
There’s a hint of plausibility to this one in that multiple European clubs were linked to a move for Cags over the summer. Madrid always seemed like an unlikely destination, but a move to Italy wouldn’t have been a shock.
Inter Milan are interested in signing Caglar Soyuncu, should they sell Milan Skriniar. [Gazzetta dello Sport] pic.twitter.com/T7nXd3CQEA— ComeOnLeicester.com (@Come0nLeicester) June 28, 2022
There are a couple of problems with this theory: Youri Tielemans and Wesley Fofana. Those two are much more strongly and plausibly linked to specific moves and yet they started on Sunday. If Söyüncü were being held out in advance of a transfer, then that move is far more advanced than we’ve been led to believe.
He’s Injured And We Haven’t Heard About It
This seems unlikely, teams are supposed to disclose injuries. At the very least, you’d expect to have heard “he picked up a knock” or something indicating that he wasn’t fit to start the match but fit enough for the bench. It’s possible he’s been nursing a minor injury that has prevented him from going full speed but isn’t especially serious, but I feel like I’m grasping at straws here.
He’s Done (or Said) Something To Anger The Gaffer
Clubs handle internal discipline issues differently. If, for example, your manager refers to himself as “The Special One,” you can expect every issue with players to be aired in public. Other clubs handle things with more discretion.
OK, all clubs handle things with all more discretion. The point is that, if there’s an internal issue between the Cags and the club or the manager, we might not hear anything about it. The only thing that casts doubt on this theory is that Söyüncü was on the bench on Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers Believes Daniel Amartey Is A Better Player
Let me preface this by saying that I like Daniel Amartey. He’s a hard worker who’ll play any role the manager asks him to play without complaint. He’s a good guy to have in your squad.
With that said, it’s really difficult to explain why Amartey is playing ahead of Söyüncü. Let’s start with the eyeball test: Watching the two of them play, my opinion is that there’s a world of difference in quality between the two of them. The numbers seem to bear this out.
Wait, no, the numbers make the case a good deal more strongly than “seems to bear this out”. We covered this in a great deal of detail last January, so I won’t get too deep into the weeds with this. The numbers didn’t change much over the second half of the season. Amartey is a solid defender if the ball is on the deck when he’s involved, which isn’t often, but Cags is better at pretty much everything else. So, while I think this is a plausible explanation, I’m not sure it’s a defensible one.
Those are the four most-likely explanations we could come up with. Which one do you think is the most likely, or, if you have another theory, let us know in the comments.
Why isn’t Çağlar Söyüncü playing for Leicester right now?
This poll is closed
He’s being held out because there is an imminent transfer.
Brendan Rodgers believes that Daniel Amartey is a better player.
He’s injured and we haven’t heard about it.
He’s said or done something to anger the gaffer.
Something else (speculate irresponsibly in the comments).