Signed to lead the line, or just being one behind? Leicester City and their striker money gambles!

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is a man in the middle of a major transition, as a number of his mature group of players are on the way out. Christian Fuchs and Wes Morgan, leaving this summer, two major personalities and both with a great influence on life at the club, soon it will be risky to just rely on Jamie Vardy to score goals with more striking options needed, but will a big money signing, as we have seen in the past, be willing to wait on his real chance or on his wait be able to fill the gap without games in his preferred position as we have seen in the past.

Embed from Getty Images

This is a heavy burden for a manager to have players waiting in the wings as they prepare for a chance they really don’t know when will be happening, instead depend on the understudies and possible youth team players to be used in emergency, that you have around and that would look at a first team possibility as a major boost.

Leicester City have parted company with a great group of first teamers over the past years, players that surely would have been leading the dressing room and given more mature players a softer way out and without leaving doubtful gaps of leadership behind.

A football club is in a continues change and to make the changes too fast in certain areas can be fatal, and often end in struggles you can’t really see when you look at a team sheet or just being a fan that loves FIFA and believe football is about in’s and out’s and forgetting that this is so much more. This is a real dressing room of human beings that shall find their place and tone, and be seen in the group as they see themselves.

Embed from Getty Images

We have gone down memory lane to look at those strategic moves made by former and the current Leicester City manager as the club move forward or if you like backwards. Certainly Brendan Rodgers is doing a grand job, but we all know that he wasn’t in favor of selling Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell who were pivotal players. He will also have a grand problem the day Jamie Vardy calls it a day and you start to see a slide in his performance or if injuries again strikes, at the age of 34, turning 35 in January, those questions must certainly be asked.

Brendan Rodgers is in search for a new forward, but not really after the replacement of Jamie Vardy, just yet, that’s why a big money move for a striker looks a bit strange, because you are not really yet clear in your head about what this new signing should be, and that’s why a big money gamble can turn sour, as we have seen in the past with the additions of Ayoze Perez and Kelechi Iheanacho, none really seen as clear alternatives as a Vardy replacement, but both being forwards that can of course lead the line. They are seen as options of emergency and as covers on a day that you don’t play Jamie Vardy, else they are played out of position or just switched around and not really getting a perfect treatment.

Embed from Getty Images

Claudio Ranieri made a huge mistake when he added Ahmed Musa and Islam Slimani to the squad, surely knowing their past, being fondly adored at their current clubs, knowing that not playing them steadily week in and week out would just give you a big problem, and that can also be the case with Patson Daka. A new target that is said to be brought in for a major fee, and with the progression of Kelechi Iheanacho what is the clear idea?

We all remember the signing of Ade Akinbiyi. He was a player seen as a replacement for Emile Heskey who had left the club in a big money move to Liverpool. The current manager at the time, Peter Taylor, was eager to get a man in to do that job, and made a massive blunder as he left other players out, and missing a grand point in his team building. The fall was massive as other strikers such as Paul Dickov and Brian Deane was brought in for minor fees as emergency alternatives, at that time doubtingly being seen as top forward alternatives in a Premier League top 10 club.

Les Ferdinand and Marcus Bent came in afterwards when the club again gained Premier League status. Both were short term alternatives, Ferdinand added on a free transfer and Bent coming in on loan. None of them were able to lead the line and to score enough to keep Leicester City in the top flight. After that relegation in 2004 the club had a long and dreadful period with chops and changes leading to just downfall after downfall.

Embed from Getty Images

A number of years after, Nigel Pearson, then the manager, made a decision to bring in a totally unknown non-league player from Fleetwood Town. A player that had scored massive amounts of goals at that level, but the start for Jamie Vardy was problematic and he almost quit the club with problems to adapt to a life as a footballer at a higher professional level.

In the chase for a top forward alternative alongside or beside Jamie Vardy or as a clear alternative in front of him, Leo Ulloa and Andrej Kramaric were both signed by Nigel Pearson to be something he surely didn’t see Jamie Vardy as. Claudio Ranieri, Craig Shakespeare and Brendan Rodgers have since made it clear who they preferred as their top forward alternative and all money used for his cover or partners played out of their best positions makes it difficult to see what the grand plan was.

Ranieri adding Slimani, replacing Okazaki, or just brought in as a replacement for Jamie Vardy if he had decided to move out or the club would try to sell him, might be a reason. Kelechi Iheanacho brought in by Craig Shakespeare surely nothing else than a cover option and Brendan Rodgers signing Ayoze Perez, not really getting the best out of him, given the fact that he is a forward type of player. Strangely big money is in gamble also this time trying to bring in a player that isn’t yet a totally given certainty in a team with Jamie Vardy still in massive demand, remembering him being the golden boot just one season ago.

Embed from Getty Images

What TCF would like to see is a more offensive approach a bolder strategy that will not see Leicester City splashing out heavy fees for players they don’t really are able to play in their best positions and in a system they are not used to, it will never work well as players and club should have balanced expectations of what the deal is, and as we have seen before managers are of course happy to alternatives and can say things to just get the player to sign on the dotted line.

If you don’t have a clear idea of how to use a player, or have better options in the squad already, why bring in a “problem” for yourself, as you probably haven’t seen the real face of your new signing and what his expectations are, and if you tell a story that lands him, and that looks to be “not the case”, then you are in a massive and colossal difficult situation. Last season the addition of Cengiz Under was a disaster, and his contribution was probably not just down to the fact that he didn’t become what Brendan Rodgers would have thought, lack of options, a few injuries and such might have been the real reason and not really a player needed as his type might be a bit to lively and unpredictable than what you were looking for, but at the time the best option on your hand.

Embed from Getty Images

You have players like Josh Eppiah and Admiral Muskwe who are options behind and of course Ali Reghba and George Hirst both signed up to be someone for the future, why you then decide to splash out big money on players that looks like covers or to be played out of their best positions is a bit awkward.

Muskwe is a Zimbabwe international, been on loan at Wycombe Wanderers this season, in a league probably of a better quality than Austria’s top division. Muskwe was offered a new deal at the club, 1.83 m, forward option, and one who can be seen as a possible cover and at the same age as Daka, and given a new contract probably seen as a possible option for a first team spot in the future, not just a player worth rotated between loans and playing in the U.23’s?

When rather than if?, Leicester City said to be winning transfer race in close competition with Chelsea and Liverpool

For a number of weeks it’s been twists and turns regarding the signing of Patson Daka, but with several sources including Daka himself confirming here and there that he will join Leicester City, TCF believe it’s time to take the cat out of the sack.

Embed from Getty Images

LCFC has not confirmed anything yet, and will probably drag out a bit further before we have the player in a City shirt on the front of the official website. The fact that the RB Salzburg player is close to a move to Leicester City makes this thrilling. With a fee of £25million said to be the price, it will be a record breaker in Austrian football.

So why are Leicester City managing to pull of yet another special transfer deal with major contenders losing out? It’s that package, that special feeling that makes things look right, a match that fits at this time for both player and club. Patson Daka is a name TCF hadn’t heard much of before the roumours start spreading, but looking at his records you believe that this is a good match.

Embed from Getty Images

We have seen previous players using Austria as a stepping stone for higher grades in football and examples of those are Erling Braut Haaland, Naby Keita and Saido Mane all taking those steps carefully before being ready for that big jump that easily will see you as a starting option in the bigger teams of Europe.

There are no certainties and Leicester City have in the past seen heavy fees thrown after players in similar league’s and situations. Ade Akinbiyi, a record signing from Wolverhampton, might be the worst example, not really fitting the bill and not taking his chances. His record transfer fee did fall after 14 years, when City again splashed out a new record fee to bring in Leo Ulloa, another record signing that failed to win a steady place in the first eleven and faded out as Akinbiyi with a stamp that he never really became exactly what it was meant to be.

Then the signings of Andrej Kramaric and Islam Slimani, also doubts to be found about Ayoze Perez and Ahmed Musa who all were big money signings and either totally misfits or not yet been the full package for monumental fees paid.

Embed from Getty Images

So how will Patson Daka fit the bill and why is he said to be a player just perfect for Leicester City. He looks a good fit, and might have a feeling that this move is correct for him, but it could be a few clouds as well, but at this stage you should stay heavily positive.

Of course when buying a new player for such a monumental fee, you need to hit bulls eye. But a few concerns must be brought to the table. Those are not about Patson Daka, but how Brendan Rodgers will compose his attack.

When you decide to pay a grand amount of money on a player, you just have to have a great plan on how you will see him in the team and be clear about your priorities, or else you will just have a major problem on your hands, not being able to balance the players expectations with your own plan of work, telling a “story” to get him on board and as a manager have another option in your pocket.

Another question, will Iheanacho again be dropped to the bench?, Is Daka is seen as a long term replacement for Vardy, as the club need pivotal players to stay steady in line with a number of the talismen at the club on the way out.

Leicester are in a bit of a generation change at the moment, and a new group of players must step up, be part long term, and if you cannot do that move properly, as we have seen Maguire, Mahrez and Chilwell, all being sold as they surely would have been players that could become the players to take the room after men such as Vardy, Schmeichel and Morgan who are either out or at an age that will soon see them surplus.

It’s a time for everything and at the age of 22, it’s a big ask to come in and replace Mr. Vardy, but that is the place we do see Daka in. You cannot let another new big money transfer become a player pushed in and out of the team. Of course great with competition, but when you splash out heavy fees, you have to play the player.

So who is Patson Daka? 22 years of age, right footed, and joined RB Salzburg in 2017, making his debut in the first team two years later. 1.85, or if you like 6ft 1in, relatively tall but still pacy and good technical skills, but will he adapt to Premier League football at the very highest level, it’s a gamble. His current contract at RB Leipzig is running to 2024, and of course to pay him out at this stage is a gamble.

To add yet another player from an African nation could be a problem if there are too many, freeing them to play in the African Nations Cup, though Daka’s nation Zambia will not be in the finals of the tournament in January. Surely you need to consider those dilemmas building a squad, and with those games qualifications games in the future coming up, you need cover and beat that challenge.

His goal tally is impressive and no doubts about his abilities, showing a grand total of 54 goals in 84 league games, during his time with RB Salzburg. He was the player of the season in a team that won the Austrian League Championship in 2020/21, and he should be on paper one that is of course useful for Leicester City.

The doubt comes when you cannot see a direct spot in the team for him, which will push out Jamie Vardy on the bench or just play the icon a bit different, is that a good solution. Considering the money to be used and how that will affect other moves in and out.

With Daka in, this could again build speculations regarding James Maddison and a possible move out, nothing confirmed, just sceptical, but hopefully we will not see another big money gamble move just getting sour as Leicester City again finding their best targets in other places and at much lower prices and not in competition with the big canons.

For all the latest updates on rumours, check out our fresh new hot, cool and cold list.

In Both Camps, Queens Park Rangers

Picture: Danny Simpson

Queens Park Rangers will play Leicester City in one of their pre-season games and to have a look at previous players in both camps we just goes back a great number of years.

Embed from Getty Images

Starting the update with Frank Large, who had a short spell at Lotus Road in 1962, joining from Halifax Town. The moved a bit around in the lower tiers at clubs such as Northampton Town and Swindon Town among those. Leicester City signed Large in 1967 and did well, but with Allan Clarke in the frame he was used as part of a deal seeing the two players switching clubs. Large played 26 league games and scored 8 goals, at QPR he was in action 18 times and scored five.

The next player to come to mind is Frank McLintock who had a great days in both camps, first at Leicester City and from here joining Arsenal and in his thirties seen as a key of experience in a young QPR side establishing themselves in the top flight in the mid 70’s and ending runners-up in the league in 1976. McLintock played at QPR from 1973 to 1977, when he went straight into management at Leicester City, being a grand legend at Filbert Street, playing for the football club from 1956 to 1964. In total 168 league games and 25 goals at Leicester City, for QPR 127 league games and 5 goals.

One of the latest additions at QPR is forward and Wales international George Thomas who joined Leicester from Coventry before moving to Holland on a loan and then returning and signing for QPR.

Eddie Kelly is the next player on our list, joining Leicester City from QPR and a good signing by Frank McLintock, later that same season David Webb was also signed from QPR. Kelly had just been at Loftus Road for a single season with Webb partnering Frank McLintock for a couple of years before moving to Leicester City.

Going into the 80’s an experience forward joined on loan for Leicester City from Everton, and Peter Eastoe had a previous past at QPR were he scored a number of goals coming from Swindon Town. Eastoe spent two periods on loan at Leicester and was fondly remembered at both camps, being influential in two different ways as he helped Leicester City avoid relegation and was a key player for QPR when they hit the top of English football. Eastoe played 72 league games and scored 15 goals, at Leicester City he hitted twice in 11 league games.

Embed from Getty Images

Robbie James is also a former player in both camps, so is Danny Simpson, who joined from QPR in 2014 and probably did not see him being back at the top of English football celebrating a Premier League win a year later. Simpson contributed well at both clubs and seen as a key in teams that really performed to their limit. Robbie James might not be remembered from either Leicester City or QPR as he was mostly known from his time at Swansea City and also as a Welsh international, seen as an icon both a club and country. Danny played 113 league games for Leicester City, at QPR he entered the field 37 times in the league. Robbie James played 37 league games and Leicester City, 87 for QPR.

England international Terry Fenwick is also a former played in both camps, representing England in the 1986 World Cup, before that period a key player at QPR and after a loan signing at Leicester City. He played his best football while at Loftus Road and spent seven years at QPR from 1980 to 1987, joining Leicester City for 8 loan appearances, scoring one goal in 1990-91.

Marcus Bent is a forward that had a nomadic life in football, playing in both camps, as we remember being at Leicester City in that 2003-04 season and later moving to Queens Park Rangers. Damien Delaney had short spells in both camps as well, playing a few games in his period at Leicester City and Queens Park Rangers. The Ireland international played at Leicester City from the start of this century and later joined QPR for a short spell from 2007 to 2009.

Lloyd Dyer had a long and happy career at Leicester City, playing 230 league games, and scoring 30 goals with this football club. At QPR it was a short loan spell during his days at The Hawthorns, appearing 15 times for the R’s.

Les Ferdinand was a grand figure at Queens Park Rangers, doing the most of his career at Loftus Road, scoring 80 goals in 163 league games. He spent one single season at Leicester City in 2003/04, playing 29 league games and scoring 12 goals.

Former Leicester City manager Ian Holloway had good days at Queens Park Rangers as a player and also had a spell as manager at Loftus Road, being twice in charge, first from 2001 to 2006 and later from 2016 to 2018. As a player doing his time with QPR from 91 to 96, playing 147 league games and scoring 4 goals from his midfield position.

Carl Ikeme and Jason Jarrett are both players with loan spells in both camps, doing their trade as expected and returning back to their current clubs Wolverhampton Wanderers and Preston North End.

Former Leicester City goalkeeper Simon Royce spent time on loan at Queens Park Rangers on three different occasions. He joined Leicester City in 2000 from Charlton Athletic and left in 2001 playing 19 league games at QPR he managed 79 league games during these different loan spells and joining permanently in 2005.

A list of former players in both camps,

Goalkeepers

Carl Ikeme
Simon Royce

Defenders

Frank McLintock
David Webb
Danny Simpson
Terry Fenwick
Damien Delaney
John O’Neill
Bob Hazell

Midfield

Eddie Kelly
Lloyd Dyer
Robbie James
Jason Jarrett

Forwards

Les Ferdinand
Marcus Bent
Frank Large
Peter Eastoe
George Thomas

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑