Leicester City have completed the signing of Belgium defender Wout Faes from Reims for a reported fee of £15m. Faes is the first first-team signing of the summer transfer window (sorry Alex). The specific number he’ll wear has yet to be announced, but presumably, he will wear one. Rumour has it the #3 shirt has recently become available.
If you had “Wout Faes” on your Leicester targets list, well done you! For the rest of us, the burning question is: Who is Wout Faes? The recently-minted Belgium international joined Anderlecht when he was fourteen, moving through their academy and spending three years on loan from their senior side without making an appearance for his parent club. After spending two seasons in the Belgian first division with Oostende, he moved to Reims, where he started 73 matches in just over two seasons.
Enough with the biography; what does he bring to the pitch for the Foxes? That, as it turns out, is a very difficult question to answer. The analytics sites are of wildly differing opinions regarding Faes. SmarterScout sees him as a very similar, but lesser, player when compared to Amartey with respect to how often he’s involved in defensive actions and how effective he is when he gets involved. Soccerment, on the other hand, rates him above Fofana last year, but they also seem to think Fofana was a midfielder so take that with a grain of salt.
So that’s the range: Not as good as Amartey, but better than Fofana? If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention. Let’s throw another wild card into the mix. Here’s some video which, having watched a lot of Faes video, I can assure you is a fair representation of his style:
Side note: I’d love to be the guy that makes the music for these videos. That bass...
Do you like two-footed sliding tackles? If you do, you’re going to really like Wout Faes. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a highlight reel featuring so many aggressive defensive actions unless it was another Wout Faes video. He’s a reasonably big lad, and he puts himself about in an incredibly energetic fashion. He loves to launch long passes, not of the “hoof and hope” fashion, but actual passes. The TL/DR: When he’s on the pitch, you’re definitely going to notice him.
So what’s the verdict? I honestly have no idea. I don’t love the numbers, so I’m skeptical, but I really, really enjoy watching him play. Is he any good? Maybe. Will he be a fan favourite? Almost certainly. Would playing him with Söyüncü be the best thing in the history of ever? ABSOLUTELY. So, let’s just call this one high risk/high reward with an off-the-charts entertainment factor.