Wilfred Ndidi was hardly a household name outside of Belgium mere weeks ago, but Leicester’s move for the teenage sensation has seen him thrust into the spotlight. His performances in the Europa League earned him a place in WhoScored.com’s team of the group stages, with the 19-year-old earning a rating of 8.19, the second best in the competition.
At his age, Ndidi remains very much a diamond in the rough, but his impact in midfield ensured Genk secured their place in the next round of the Europa League as they topped Group F. Ndidi made more tackles and interceptions combined (71) than any other player in the group stages, signifying his tenacity in pursuit of possession and impressive energy levels. Kante’s greatest quality is his ability to dominate the midfield, often covering as much ground as two men, and his sale was always going to negatively impact Leicester.
The Foxes remain a team who will look to play a direct style, noted in that their average possession this season (44.5%) ranks lowly in the Premier League, but the lack of quality ball winning midfielder hindered their approach. Indeed, four attempts on goal from counter-attacking situations from 16 league games this season, a huge drop from the 18 attempts last term, suggests they have missed the necessary player to help soak up pressure before aggressively robbing opponents to catch teams on the break. Given his performances in Europe this season, Ndidi is the player Leicester require and it’s little surprise to see them look to push the deal over the line as quickly as possible.
That being said, there is work to be done on Ndidi’s game that Ranieri will hope to improve upon. A 79.5% pass success rate is low for a midfielder, but then the Nigerian’s stand out trait is not to keep the team ticking over. Genk had four counter-attacking attempts on goal in their six Europa League group games, so their style is not too dissimilar to Leicester’s, which is naturally a boost to the Premier League champions. Ndidi will undoubtedly strengthen this Foxes team with the youngster hoping to prove capable of filling the huge gap Kante left when he departed for Chelsea over the summer.
Courtesy – Talksport