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17 goals in 32 games: Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy better now than title-winning season

The Englishman’s fine form has gone somewhat under the radar this season.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

Jamie Vardy was a late developer, but he has emerged as one of the best strikers in the Premier League since Leicester City were promoted to the division.

His best season came when the Foxes sprung a surprise to win the league title during the 2015/16 campaign.

It would have been easy for the striker to trail off after that incredible year, but he has continued to work hard and is going into this summer’s World Cup as England’s form striker.

Considering Leicester are finishing the season with a stutter, the performances and consistency of Vardy have gone under the radar, but he deserves a lot of credit for his excellent goal-scoring campaign.

In 32 Premier League matches, he has scored 17 goals at a rate of one every 165.2 minutes. It is impressive for any striker to score as regularly as that and the 31-year-old will feel that he is at the peak of his powers.

Leicester have lost three of their last four matches and that has meant that the focus hasn’t been on the team. However, Vardy continues to deliver the goods in the final third, having scored in each of the Foxes’ last five matches.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

The England international currently has the record for scoring in the most consecutive Premier League matches scored. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he has managed to hit another hot streak.

It can even be argued that Vardy has improved since Leicester’s league-winning season, especially when it comes to the mental side of the game.

He has become a more intelligent player and that is evident through his positioning and anticipation in the final third.

The 31-year-old gets a lot of chances from being in the right place in the right time, whereas during the 2015-16 campaign, the majority of his goals were carbon copies of each other. There would be a long ball over the top and his pace would give him the chance. Now, he is a much more complete player.

In addition to improving the mental side of his game, Vardy has become a more clinical finisher as shown by his sharp increase in chance conversion.

During the incredible title-winning season, the striker had a chance conversion rate of 20.9%. This campaign, it stands at a very respectable 28.8%. This is due to the striker gaining more experience and knowing how to take the chances that come his way.

Michael Owen once said that the Leicester City man wasn’t a natural finisher. That is no longer the case.

(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

The stats also show a style-shift in Vardy, as he averages only 0.39 ball recoveries per ninety minutes, as opposed to the impressive 1.47 that he managed during the excellent season of two years ago.

This suggests that the striker realises that his body can no longer go as it once could and he is decreasing his overall workload due to this. As a result, he can focus on taking up dangerous positions and scoring goals.

Although Vardy is not likely to surpass his 2015/16 total of 24 goals, it can be argued that this season is just as impressive. He is playing in a mid-table side and has shown an improvement in his finishing, which was already at a high level during the title-winning campaign.

The Foxes front-man knows that he won’t get as many chances to score as he did back then, but he is making sure that he makes the most of them.

England will favour Harry Kane this summer in Russia, but the Leicester City forward will have a big role to play for the Three Lions. His form this season shouldn’t be ignored.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Everton

Everton have Lucas Digne bid accepted, a player Jurgen Klopp wanted in 2016

The French left-back has been the subject of a £22m bid from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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It appears that Everton have identified the left-back they want to sign this summer. Lucas Digne has been linked with the club in recent days. Now, according to the Mirror, Everton have agreed a £22 million fee with his club Barcelona.

Everton want a long-term replacement for Leighton Baines but decided against first-choice Kieran Tierney due to Celtic’s asking price for the Scotland international. Now Digne appears to be the first-choice.

This is not the first time that Digne has had the chance to head to Merseyside. In the summer of 2016, it was reported that Liverpool were after the Frenchman.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Mirror reported that Liverpool made an enquiry for the player in July 2016. But he headed to Barcelona instead. The Catalan club paid £13.8 million to sign the player from PSG, with Liverpool missing out.


“PSG already had an offer from a good English team but when we got in touch with the manager [he] told us that the player only wanted to come to Barcelona.”

-Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez after signing Digne


The Reds ended up playing James Milner at left-back that season, before signing Andrew Robertson a year ago.

Things have worked out for Liverpool, with Robertson a star player last term.

But Everton will love to bring in a player that Liverpool wanted just two years ago.

Digne, who thrived at Lille before struggling to break into the first-team at both PSG and Barcelona, also enjoyed an excellent loan spell at Roma in 2015-16.

With 21-caps for France and at only 25-years-old Everton will be getting a great player if Digne arrives. In an added bonus, a little burn on their local rivals will only make the deal sweeter.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Fresh Erik Lamela could be key for Tottenham Hotspur next season

Tottenham Hotspur will hope the Argentine can remain fit this season.

Mathew Nash

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Tottenham Hotspur secured the long-term future of two first-team regulars this weekend, with Heung-min Son and Erik Lamela both signing new deals.

It has certainly not been plain sailing for either player during their time in North London. After a disappointing first season, the South Korean was nearly sold back to Germany. Lamela, on the other hand, has had to battle several injury and personal problems.

Signed in the wake of Gareth Bale’s exit to Real Madrid the Argentine became Tottenham’s record signing. Spurs paid Roma £30 million for the player in the summer of 2013.

But despite showing his best at times for Spurs and become a cult hero with one section of Tottenham fans, injuries have blighted him.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

There was back trouble first and then a hip problem. The latter kept him out of action for over a year.

After returning to action in November he started just seven Premier League games but this season could be huge for the 26-year-old.

He has already impressed in pre-season, netting a hat-trick against Southend United. After a bit-part 2017-18 season which saw Lamela nursing his way back into first-team football, he will be fully fit this term.

Fresh, fit and with the bit between his teeth Tottenham could have a different beast on their hands with Lamela this term.

Hopefully, he can discover the form he showcased in the 2015-16 campaign.

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Alireza Jahanbakhsh would be a statement of intent for Brighton

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

Brighton and Hove Albion could be set to sign Alireza Jahanbakhsh as Chris Hughton looks to add another winger to his squad, according to The Argus. The Seagulls have already signed seven players during this close season, with the likes of Yves Bissouma, Bernardo, Florin Andone and Leon Balogun signing among others.

Hughton has wasted no time this summer and that is important if the club continues progressing in the Premier League. The previous seasons highlight the importance of being proactive, as those clubs that aren’t are often involved in relegation battles. Brighton’s main priority will be to stay up, but they are showing ambition and that should be commended.

Their signings to date have been impressive and show the scouting network in place at the club. However, Jahanbakhsh would be the headline arrival if he does arrive at the Amex Stadium.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The Iranian winger has been one of the standout players in the Eredivisie in recent years and he has the potential to be an exciting capture for a Premier League team. He showed flashes of his talent during the World Cup with Iran and he is now ready to test himself at a higher level.

Last season, he finished as the Eredivisie top scorer with 21 goals with one coming every 135 minutes in the competition. In addition to that, he contributed 12 assists and was regularly causing problems for opposition defences.

His feats are even more impressive considering he wasn’t playing for one of the top two teams. That said, his performances allowed AZ Alkmaar to finish above Feyenoord who had won the league as recently as the 2016/17 campaign.

The 24-year-old delivered consistency in the Eredivisie with 4.3 shots, 3.4 dribbles and 2.4 key passes. They are huge attacking numbers and underline the quality that he does possess. Although it is unlikely that he could reproduce these with a team like Brighton, he would represent an upgrade on their current options.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

He is best utilised as a right winger with freedom to remain in attacking positions, but he can play anywhere across the forward line.

The space allowed to players like Jahanbakhsh in the Eredivisie helped him deliver the goals and assists that he did. His goal-scoring took the headlines, but his passing range and quality delivery also stood out, as shown by his number of assists. The Iranian is never scared to attempt a high-risk pass.

Jahanbakhsh is a very good player to watch when he has the ball at his feet. He looks to commit defenders and beat them on the dribble with his close ball control and low centre of gravity. At times, his decision making is questionable as he often takes difficult shots, but there is no denying that he creates a lot of problems for defending teams.

This summer is the right time for Jahanbakhsh to make a move to a bigger league and at the age of 24, he would be an incredible addition for Brighton. His upside is huge and there would be potential to sell him on for an even larger fee in the future if he continues to develop at a rapid rate. There has been other reported interest from Leicester City, but the Seagulls will be hopeful of winning the race.

 

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