With fewer than 72 hours left in the summer transfer window, Leicester City have left it late, but there’s still time to bring in some reinforcements before the window closes. After indulging in a little idle speculation, let’s look at the players who are actually linked to the Foxes by unnamed sources as opposed to yours truly.
Loïc Bade - Stade Rennes (Ligue Un)
A young, tall (6’3”), thin French defender. Can’t imagine the appeal. That said, he’s older than Fofana at 22 and has only started 12 matches since leaving Lens at the end of 2020/21. He’s a very active, aggressive defender which seems to be what Brendan Rodgers is looking for. The big question for Bade is: Can he quickly adapt to the Premier League. To my eyes, he might take a year to get his feet under him and we may not have that year.
Pawel Dawidowicz - Hellas Verona (Serie A)
Pawel’s the oldest player on this list at 27, and he’s a big lad. You see “big Polish defender” and you might think “Wasilewski,” but we’re not talking about quite that kind of player. He’s big and he’s strong, and he’s not especially good on the ball, but he’ll clear it out of danger and leave a mark on you. OK, maybe he kind of is that kind of player. That’s not a bad thing. He has struggled to hold down a starting role with Verona, so there’s some Vestergaard risk here.
Abdou Diallo - Paris-Saint Germain (Ligue Un)
The 26-year-old Senegal man has yet to feature for PSG this season, but we have seen enough of his work to have a reasonable picture of his strengths and weaknesses. He’s most often deployed in central defense but his virtues are those of a wide player: He likes to get forward and to create. City certainly could use a left-footed left-back, and Diallo looks like he’d fit like a glove on the left side of a back three. It’s just a matter of whether or not that’s the player we feel we need.
Manuel Akanji - Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)
Akanji is the other 27-year-old linked to City, and he’s a heck of a player. He starts 25 matches a year like clockwork for Dortmund, which is more a measure of their depth than his ability to stay healthy. He’s brilliant with the ball at his feet and he’s seldom caught out of position which would address our issues with through balls. The big question is: Does he want to swap Champions League football for what is likely to be a very difficult season at Leicester? This link seems far-fetched.
Edmond Tapsoba - Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga)
Tapsoba is going to be a monster. Only 23, he’s already a very cultured, calm defender who has proven his ability at the top level. He loves to put his body on the line a la Wes Morgan, and while he’s not the dominant presence in the air you’d expect of a player his size, he’s also not a liability. He comes with the same caveats as Akanji: The Burkina Faso international is a key player for a Champions League club. It’d be a coup if we could pull it off, but don’t hold your breath.
Maxence Lacroix - Wolfsburg (Bundesliga)
Another 22-year-old France defender, Lacroix has been a mainstay in the Wolfsburg defense for two seasons and has started every match this year. He’s always been aggressive, he’s been aggressive this year, and he’ll probably always be aggressive. He’s not always especially successful with his aggression, which can be fun to watch but makes managers pull their expensively coiffed hair out. He’s a more realistic target than Akanji or Tapsoba, but he’s a step below both of them in my estimation.
Merih Demiral - Atalanta (Serie A)
Aha! The cover boy from our idle speculation feature is apparently a genuine target! I’ll just repeat what I said earlier:
Let me start by admitting our bias here: Bringing Demiral here might smooth things over with Çağlar Söyüncü. If that were to happen, there would be much rejoicing. There are practical reasons for wanting Demiral as well. He’s a solid defender, similar to Mavropanos but not quite up to his level, particularly with respect to his range of passing. On the other hand, his familiarity with his potential partner in defense would potentially be a plus.
Amine Harit - Marseille (Ligue Un)
The Morocco winger failed to settle in at Marseille after his move from Schalke two years ago. Harit can play as a 10 or on either wing and, unlike most of the players who fit that description, he’s equally effective in each role. He is extremely tricky on the ball, sometimes to the point of over-elaboration, and he adds nothing at all to the defense. He’s right-footed, which isn’t ideal for our system, but he’s creative no matter where he’s playing. The concern? Is he Riyad Mahrez or is he Demarai Gray?
Amine Harit is cengiz under 2.0— F1nn Craddock (@Finn28TTt) August 29, 2022
Nah. The only way that comparison fits is if Rodgers refuses to play him, too. BTW, Ünder scored 10 goals in 25 starts for Marseille last season.
Matheus Pereira - Al Hilal (Dawriyy al-Muḥtarifayni as-Suʿūdī)
I hear a lot of groans when Pereira is mentioned as a target, but I’m not sure that’s fair. He was very, very good for West Bromwich Albion when they were promoted, providing a creative spark in what was one of the least-creative sides I’ve ever seen. He’s capable of scoring and creating and his vision is exceptional. On the other hand, the Saudi league isn’t the most competitive and he’s really best deployed as a central attacking midfielder even though he is left-footed.
That’s it for tonight. I’m sure there will be a dozen more links tomorrow, a few of which might even be legitimate. Anyone on this list strike you as appealing? Let us know in the comments!