Could Youri Tieleman’s permanent move to Leicester City propel the Foxes to the tops of the table?
Don’t look now, but Leicester City is quietly having a very good summer transfer period. After inking 21-year old English two-way defender James Justin from EFL Championship side Luton Town, attacking midfielder/forward Ayoze Pérez – Newcastle’s leading goal scorer last season – the Foxes have announced the permanent signing of midfielder Youri Tielemans from AS Monaco on a 4-year deal worth somewhere in the ballpark of £40 million according to the BBC, a club-record.
While Tielemans may not be a new addition to the team per se – he played in 13 matches with Leicester last season, tallying three goals and four assists – the signing solidifies one of the most dynamic midfields in the Premier League with the Belgium international set to play alongside breakout No. 10 James Maddison and defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi again next year.
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Following a 9th place finish in the league during the 2018/19 campaign and a managerial change, the Foxes are looking like a dark horse pick to challenge for a top six spot and if all the chips fall right, even a top four finish in the English top flight.
Following the sacking of Claude Puel at the end of February, the Foxes exhibited a renewed swagger under former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, playing a more fluid and expressive brand of football that saw the club throttle Arsenal 3-0 at King Power Stadium and giving eventual Premier League champions Manchester City all they could handle at the Etihad in a 1-0 brawl, a match they could easily have drawn if not for a stroke of brilliance from Vincent Kompany in the dying stages of the game.
With Tielemans, Rodgers and the Leicester fan base are getting a young yet experienced midfielder who has shown ample confidence and strength on the ball. Both technically gifted with the ability of creating his own space to operate in and the vision to finesse a pass into narrow corridors to find his teammates on advanced runs, Tielemans will be one of the most important pieces in a potentially potent squad next season. Says Rodgers, “Youri fit brilliantly into the squad last season, he’s already shown that he’s capable of making an impact in the Premier League and he adds another option to an incredibly talented group of players here at Leicester City.”
With the aforementioned Maddison and Pérez as well as striker Jamie Vardy, who found the back of the net nine times in ten games under Rodgers, Harvey Barnes and a pair of fullbacks – Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell – who aren’t shy getting forward either, Leicester are certainly a team to keep an eye on when the new Premier League season gets underway this August.