Being well informed and having a grand overview of scouting and partnerships in Scandinavia, Leicester might not have the best connections in this area of football.
Leicester have over the years missed out on grand signings and ignored potential bargains of players such as Martin Ødegaard, Erling Braut-Haaland and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. All players would have been approachable for Leicester but instead other clubs acted in front.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Ajax from Malmo FF and Leicester had no idea of the potential as they ignored recomendations for the player, they instead signed Ade Akinbiyi and Trevor Benjamin. Another name recommended to the club was young Hacken midfielder Kim Kallstrom who in his career played for Arsenal and Lyon and added up 131 full caps for Sweden.
Over the years only two players have been signed directly from a Swedish club, no one from Norway, and the two Swedes Patrik Gerrbrand and Pontus Kåmark joining from Hammarby and IFK Gothenburg were both seen as experienced and in their mid or late 20’s when moving in. But to see so little or no engangement towards this area of football talent you might think that the club fear polarbears or sailing the north sea.
We all know from the past that buying or signing players from Sweden or Norway would be good as they all learn English in school and often brought up in good and learning skilled environments. The American president Theodor Roosevelt said “Look to Norway” so should Leicester do.
To watch the current work at Leicester for local players you get impressed as they manage to find those talents that could turn into top professionals, but from abroad they tend to miss out as we have not seen many players in that category being nursed forward from the academy and on to become first team regulars. The signing of Riyad Mahrez stands out as the only foreign signing that turned out as special in the perspetcive of price and being totally unknown.
Leicester have made grand signings of foreign players but they are all from a higher shelf and been proven professionals when joining, good examples would be N’Golo Kantè and Wilfred Ndidi. Both players a bit unknown when joining but still highly rated and proven professionals in their own countries.
Looking at the current squad of players at the academy we find players from US and a number of African nations and also a spread group from different other nations. We all know the key fact for progress of young boys is to have family close also being able to have a special bond to other local players. Ben Chilwell, Harvey Barnes and Hamza Choudhury are all great examples of players coming through with that comfort and safety.
Leicester need to open their eyes towards talent in Norway and Sweden as it would be a grand place to look and especially in the age group between 18 and 20. The key is to bring in players that will be in reach of first team chances early on and not be forgotten for years in the development set up.
TCF believe going forward you need to be among the best in your trade in this field of talent spotting and not run around the globe, but instead use a smaller and closer environment as you will find special areas in Norway and Sweden for young talented players and not shop around as you ignore key points in development of players being able to have special bonds to special areas to gain access to those bases of talent.
A number of clubs in Europe do have their hands inside the market of talents in Sweden and Norway with PSV Eindhoven, AC Milan and Ajax all good examples of foreign parties present and with local scouts and advisors in place.
Often special places of football heritage can be the key for bringing in the best talents and building a special bond to those areas to be able to be seen as a great place to move as professionals and that would probably be of higher importance than being in positon one or five in your league ladder.
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