Why Leicester City Haven’t Missed Harry Maguire

Leicester City held out during the last transfer window and insisted that they wouldn’t sell star defender Harry Maguire unless they received a ridiculous bid.

Then towards the end of that window Manchester United signed the England international in a world record deal for a defender, with an £80m fee mentioned (Source BBC Sport).

All eyes then turned to Brendan Rodgers, how would the Foxes manager replace the giant centre-back?

Well the Premier League side decided that it wasn’t going to be in the transfer market as they felt they wouldn’t be able to sign someone at a realistic price.

Instead Rodgers turned to Turkish internationalist Çağlar Söyüncü.

The young centre-back joined the summer previously but only made six league appearances in his debut season. It seems now as though he was always being brought in to replace Harry and last year was all about Çağlar bedding in and get used to the English game.

The twenty-three year old has started in all seven of The Foxes Premier League games so far this term and he’s looked great.

He’s very capable in the air, winning on average 3.7 aerial duels per league outing this season. That’s more than anyone else in this Leicester side. The central defender is also pretty fierce in the tackle and makes around 2.4 tackles per game, which is far superior to that of Maguire at Man United.

Söyüncü is also tidy on the ball. According to Whoscored, the Turk has an impressive passing success rate of 87.7% so far this term.

His manager praised Çağlar for his start to the season:

“When you work closely with him (Soyuncu), you see his quality. He had big boots to fill and he’s been very good in both games,”

“For a modern-day centre back, he’s exactly what you want.”

Via Euronews

His strong start to the season has already seen Çağlar Söyüncü being linked with a move to champions Manchester City (Via Four Four Two), who have suffered from a defensive injury crisis at the start of this campaign.

But the Turkish centre-back isn’t the sole reason behind Leicester City’s fine form and the fact that former league champions aren’t missing Maguire at the back.

Alongside Söyüncü, Brendan Rodgers has been able to also select Jonny Evans in every league outing thus far.

Evans is an experienced campaigner and one who won silverware at Man United earlier in his career. The thirty-one year old defender gives The Foxes stability at the back and it’s been key that Rodgers has been able to pick his first choice centre-back pairing for every game so far this season!

The Foxes have two quality full-backs in Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira. Both are good in the air and Pereira in particular likes to get back and make a challenge. They’re also good outlets when Leicester push forward.

Then you’ve got Wilfred Ndidi playing just in front of the defence and, for me, he’s one of the best holding midfielders in Europe. He consistently wins a high volume of tackles in the engine-room and no player in England’s top flight has won more tackles per game or made more interceptions than the twenty-two year old this year.

The Nigerian is such a diligent worker for his team, one that tidies everything up and makes life easier for the defenders playing in behind him. I’m very surprised so called bigger clubs haven’t made more of an effort to bring Ndidi to their club.

It’s also a big bonus that Leicester City have got Kasper Schmeichel in between the sticks.

The Danish keeper has been one of the most consistent shot-stoppers in England for sometime now. He was in amazing form as he helped them famously win the Premier League crown in 2016 and he’s not far away from that form this season.

The Foxes are flying high once again in the top flight, lying in third spot and just two points behind Pep Guardiola’s fine Man City team.

Importantly they’ve got a wonderful defensive spine and they’ve kept that spine for the most part this term.

Harry Maguire’s new side Man United have toiled this term and are in tenth spot, conceding seven times. Leicester City have conceded just five goals in their opening seven fixtures and no team has a better defensive record this season!

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