HEADLINES: Kelechi Iheanacho having a medical at Leicester City in a proposed £25 million move from Manchester City.
STRIKER – 20 – NIGERIA – MANCHESTER CITY
Image from Goal.com
Think back to over a year ago, when Pep Guardiola’s Man City side had won their first six Premier League games, including 2-1 win over Old Trafford. A big part of the initial success of that side was Kelechi Iheanacho, who scored one and made one in that victory over Jose Mourinho’s men. But since then, the Nigerian has barely had an opportunity at the Etihad Stadium, and is set to move to former champions Leicester City in a reported £25 million move.
The striker moved to Manchester City from Nigeria in 2012, but could not play nor train with the Citizens for two years due to work permit complications. In July 2014, the Nigerian was included in City’s pre-season tour of the USA, playing and scoring in both of the games in which he took part in, against Sporting Kansas City and AC Milan. However, work permit issues struck again, and he moved on loan to Columbus Crew until October that year, but only trained with the MLS side. He was finally permitted to play football for the blue half of Manchester in February 2015, but also played for City’s youth teams. His first competitive first-team opportunity came in August that year, and scored in first City goal a month later in a 1-0 league win over Crystal Palace. An FA Cup hat trick over Aston Villa in January 2016 would bring Iheanacho into the spotlight, and he went on to score 8 Premier League goals that year in just 26 appearances, and the best goal-per-minute ratio of any Premier League player. Pep Guardiola would go on to give the Nigerian another chance in his first-team plans, yet despite scoring three goals in three consecutive City games in September, the Spanish manager still put his faith in Sergio Aguero over the Nigerian, and the signing of Gabriel Jesus in January put Iheanacho even further down the pecking order.
Where would he fit in at Leicester?
His potential new side Leicester City should be playing 4-4-2 next season with current manager Craig Shakespeare using the same tactics that sensationally won the Foxes the Premier League in 2016. With fellow striker Jamie Vardy now a cult hero at the King Power Stadium, Iheanacho will be competing with Islam Slimani, Shinji Okazaki and Leandro Ulloa for that second striker starting spot.
What else do Leicester need?
It’s very difficult to improve that Leicester side given the potential of what that team can do. The Foxes will be looking to achieve a top-half finish this season and potentially even gaining a European spot, and the £50 million investment into transfer incomings so far this season is matching that ambition. However, if the reported departures of Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater to Roma and Chelsea go through, then replacements for those two key players will be needed.
Chances of this transfer happening – 10/10
With a medical already reportedly booked in, only injury problems, which the Nigerian has never had, can stop him from making the switch from City to Leicester. West Ham were also keen on signings Iheanacho but the Hammers’ acquisition of Javier Hernandez has led to them dropping that interest.
Will he be a good signing – 8/10
This is a very exciting move. The Nigerian is semi-Premier League proven already at the age of 20, and with more opportunities and minutes than he had at City, Iheanacho has the instinct and the potential to easily score 15 to 20 goals for the Foxes this season. Keep an eye on this signing.