To those who said Leicester couldn’t replace Kante – they already have
It’s looking pretty likely that Leicester City have unearthed yet another gem. As if bringing Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante to England wasn’t enough – they’ve added another name to their ever-growing list of unbelievable buys over the last few years.
Despite spending in excess of £60m on summer signings, it’s a January arrival that has impressed us most.
And given the fact he’s just 20-years-old, Leicester’s midfield could be in safe hands for years to come – if they can keep hold of him.
Signed from Belgian outfit Genk for a fee of £15m, Wilfred Ndidi arrived at the King Power Stadium with plenty to prove. The East Midlands outfit had never before forked out such amounts for a player so young – in fact he’s the Foxes’ third-most expensive signing of all time.
He arrived at a terrible time to stamp his authority on the team though – with his first start coming in a 3-0 defeat against Chelsea which sparked a run of five consecutive Premier League defeats.
Youngster has already improved
Plenty has changed since then though. Then-manager Claudio Ranieri was given his marching orders, and Ndidi suddenly stepped things up a gear or two.
Playing a pivotal role in the Leicester City engine room, the Nigeria international has kept things ticking over as his side have won their last five matches in all competitions – including four wins in the top-flight which have in turn saw the Foxes climb up to 13th in the table.
Forming a solid relationship in the middle of the park with long-time servant Danny Drinkwater, Ndidi is fast establishing himself as a key member of this Leicester side.
Of course, in doing so at such an early age that’ll only attract the interest of Europe’s elite clubs.
The same happened with Kante after a year at the King Power. Granted, his replacement still has a long way to go before he reaches the kind of heights the Frenchman set before moving to Chelsea back in the summer. But he’s certainly ticking all the right boxes at the moment.
Providing they can secure their Premier League status for one more year though (which is looking increasingly likely), then the Foxes would have no reason to sell the midfielder any time soon.
Creative attributes are a welcomed bonus
He’s already netted his first goal in England, and has an assist to his name. Those are two aspects of his game which we never saw at Genk, and it’s clear that that’s not what the Foxes signed him for.
But if he continues to become a reliable source for goals, Leicester should have something special on their hands.
And chiefs in the Midlands are well aware of that.
Interim manager Craig Shakespeare has already hinted that some of the bigger clubs have been sniffing around, although according to Ranieri’s former assistant, Ndidi is “very happy here. He knows that we have given him the opportunity and I am sure that hopefully he will be a player here for a long long time.”
The Nigerian powerhouse will be in action for Leicester again this week, when basement boys Sunderland travel to the King Power.
David Moyes’ men are currently on a run which has seen them pick up just one win in 14 games in all competitions, and the hosts look great value at 4/9 to extend their five-match winning streak.
Meanwhile, 9/2 says Ndidi gets on the scoresheet for the second week in a row.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing