Is Ahmed Musa's Barcelona brace a sign of things to come for Leicester?
Anybody who plays the game of FIFA will claim to know everything about the skills and attributes of Leicester’s Nigerian winger Ahmed Musa.
Blessed with pace, Musa is known for his speed across the ground, technical ability, creativity and a keen eye for goal, but having only graced European football with VVV Venlo in the Dutch Eredivisie and Russian outfit CSKA Moscow before his transfer to the King Power, his few appearances with the latter in the Champions League are the only exposure most Leicester supporters, and indeed most supporters in England, may have had to the dynamic winger.
On Wednesday night, although Leicester eventually fell to Barcelona in the pre-season International Champions Cup tournament with a 4-2 defeat, Ahmed Musa announced his presence two minutes after his arrival with a quick-fire goal, overcoming three defenders after being fed by Shinji Okazaki and capped it off with a composed finish. Not content with this introduction, he stunned the Catalans with a second just after the 66 minute mark, hammering a shot into the roof of the net after being played in by Jeffrey Schlupp.
With a short exposé as to what this forward is capable of even in Leicester colours against a side of Barcelona’s magnitude, this may just be a sign of things to come and that Musa will be a bright spark at the King Power Stadium this coming season.
With N’Golo Kanté already gone, and uncertainty hanging over the fate of last season’s star wide-man Riyad Mahrez, Claudio Ranieri and his team could seriously do with a player making a big impact this coming season if they are to make a respectable maiden appearance in the Champions League, and indeed maintain European ambitions after last season’s unprecedented title victory.
At £16 million, Musa is the Foxes’ record signing, and if his performance against Barcelona is anything to go by, even if it is pre-season, he will be worth every penny.
Having appeared in Europe with his former club CSKA Moscow, a player not only have his skill and trickery, but his experience at such a level, is just the sort of player that Ranieri needs at Leicester right now if they are not only to impress in Europe but maintain a top-ten berth in the Premier League.
If one were to argue that this occasion was only a friendly, you only need to look at the performances he’d put in for CSKA to understand that the 23-year-old has real pedigree at that level, having impressed against the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Bayern Munich and been a thorn in the side of others with goals against Roma, Viktoria Plzen, and PSV Eindhoven.
He looked particularly dangerous in games against the Manchester clubs when he has been able to showcase his talents in English supporters, and with his latest endeavour in Leicester colours, it only serves as a further sign of the Nigerian’s promise. On the international stage, he has shown his quality and has an African Cup of Nations Winners Medal from the 2013 tournament to show for it and 42 goals in 125 appearances in the Russian Premier League.
Of course Musa is yet to be tried and tested in the tough climate of the Premier League, but having already done the business on the continent and impressed against two strong Premier League clubs in the Champions League, the signs are encouraging that Musa will easily adapt and be a big player for the reigning champions this coming season.
He has endured the weather in Russia, so the climate is hardly likely to be an issue, but the biggest challenge will be adapting to the physicality of the division, which is somewhat unlike any league in Europe. With the quality he possesses and an astute manager to guide him, it is good omens for his chances in England and good omens for Leicester City, and he will be one to watch, particularly back in the Champions League.
Featured Image – All Rights Reserved by Craig Ballantyne.
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