Leicester City have signed left-back Victor Kristiansen from Danish side FC Copenhagen for a reported fee of €20 million. The Denmark U21 international is the Foxes’ first new signing of the January 2023 transfer window. Having completed his physical, the 20 year-old could be available for selection on Saturday against Brighton and Hove Albion. Realistically, he will likely have to wait until the FA Cup match against Walsall on 28 January to make his bow for City as he hasn’t featured for his club since the World Cup break.
Leicester City Football Club is delighted to confirm the signing of Victor Kristiansen until 2028! ✍️— Leicester City (@LCFC) January 20, 2023
Why A Left-Back?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Leicester City have a crisis at fullback. Ricardo Pereira, James Justin, and Ryan Bertrand are out with long-term injuries, leaving the Foxes with only Timothy Castagne and Luke Thomas as recognized fullbacks. Marc Albrighton can also play there, but I’m not sure you’d recognize him...
Why Victor Kristiansen?
You might have noticed that the Leicester defence can look a little shaky at times. Kristiansen will help. He is the epitome of a “defence-first” fullback. Among fullbacks, he ranks in the top 10% in tackles and interceptions and just a little lower in terms of blocks. In spite of being relatively tall for a fullback at 5’ 11”, he’s not great in the air but that’s the only knock against him when defending.
He is not, however, particularly prone to get forward. He contributes little in the attacking third and prefers long passes to carrying the ball forward. He takes set pieces for Copenhagen, so he does offer another left-footed option from dead balls, but don’t look for rampaging runs and overlaps.
Finally, one thing you cannot help but notice is just how active he is in his defending. We’re not talking “Wout Faes two-footed lunges in the penalty box” levels of aggression, but he puts himself about and loves to get stuck in. I’m not sure he does more defending than Luke Thomas, but he looks like he does. Speaking of Thomas...
What Does This Mean For Luke Thomas?
Nothing good, I’m afraid. Thomas has had some good matches and some not-so-good ones, as you would expect of a player with his experience level. If Leicester brought in a veteran left back to give Thomas time to develop and provide cover, that would be one thing. To spend this much on a 20 year-old who plays the same position suggests strongly that the club do not feel Luke is going to be The Answer at left-back.
What’s really odd is...from a statistical standpoint, they’re very much the same player.
To my untrained eye (and the other one which has a little more experience), they look very similar and Thomas might just be the superior player. He’s certainly been the more active and more successful pass and he’s been at least as active as the Dane on defence. The caveat is that Thomas has had many, many more attackers playing for a poor Premier League side as opposed to Kristiansen playing for a top team in the Superliga.
What Do You Think?
Is this a good signing for the Foxes? Was there another name you would have preferred to see? Did we spend too much? Let us know in the comments!
This is technically correct (the best kind of “correct”!), but basing your comparison of left backs on “goals scored” is sort of like saying two cities are similar because they both have a Red Lobster.