FLW examines who would benefit and who might suffer at Leicester City if the midfield enforcer leaves. Wilfred Ndidi’s future at Leicester City is currently uncertain.
The powerful midfielder has always attracted interest from other clubs, so it was surprising to see him remain in the East Midlands during the most recent transfer window, when the likes of James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, and Timothy Castagne, among others, all sought greener pastures.
Less surprising, however, is the manner in which he’s started off for Leicester in the Championship this term.
He’s played in a slightly more advanced role than what he’s used to in a midfield three alongside Harry Winks and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, where he’s been able to push up and drive the ball forward when needed while also maintaining his industrious defensive qualities that allow the Foxes to break up play and take the sting out of games.
Make no mistake about it, Ndidi is an asset both on and off the pitch- but just how realistic their ambitions are of keeping him for the duration of the current campaign remains to be seen.
Spanish juggernaut Barcelona are the latest big club to be credited with interest in his signature, which is set to expire at the King Power Stadium next summer.
Of course, he may renew, but it’s undeniable that more tantalising, career-changing options are firmly on the table that could well turn his head – particularly if Leicester’s promotion charge falters.
They need to prepare for every scenario, and as such, we’ve deciphered the one winner and the one loser if he does indeed exit the club this coming January.
Winner: Cesare Casadei
It’s difficult to choose too many winners from a probable major player departure, but it could pay off for the Chelsea loanee.
Leicester have plenty of options in the middle of the park, so despite scoring on his debut against Cardiff City, the Italian youth international has only started one game thus far.
He’s an all-action midfielder in the mold of Ndidi, capable of contributing bite, tenacity, and energy to the central areas, as well as calmness on the ball and a genuine goal threat, as demonstrated in the recent under-20 World Cup.
With four goals and a silver medal in the Argentina tournament, Casadei appears to be the potential internal replacement for Ndidi, considering the heightened technical demands he’s encountered under Enzo Maresca.
Harry Winks is a loser.
On the other hand, if Ndidi quits, the Foxes will be losers all around – not a great position.
But one player who will suffer the most is Harry Winks, with whom he has formed a solid connection at the bedrock of Leicester’s midfield thus far.
Winks, a deep-lying operator in Maresca’s system, and Ndidi have complimented one other brilliantly, and it’s telling how strong Leicester have been in this part of the game.
Winks isn’t the most mobile player, and Ndidi’s agility can frequently compensate for him, while the ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder contributes considerably more in possession, creating an obvious and helpful balance.
Midfield pairings are indescribably important because games are often won or lost there, so if Ndidi leaves, Leicester will need to find an ideal replacement in order to continue getting the most out of Winks.