Leicester City have reportedly decided not to offer Shinji Okazaki a new deal at the end of the season, meaning his contract is set to expire in June – and he would be perfect for Leeds United.
The Telegraph have claimed the 33-year-old Japan international is in the final few months of his contract at the King Power Stadium. But Brendan Rodgers is looking to the future, rather than clinging onto the past.
That means Okazaki – signed for £7.5million (Telegraph) from Mainz in 2015 – is the latest of Leicester’s Premier League title winners to leave, including Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater.
Huge Premier League experience including a winners’ medal and available on a free, workhorse Okazaki may have lost a yard of pace but he is certainly a catch for some smaller Premier League sides.
He could be just what Leeds need. With promotion on the horizon, Marcelo Bielsa is likely to be active this summer and will want some new additions to help keep the Whitea afloat.
Okazaki could be a move that would suit Leeds in many different ways. Bielsa is renowned to prefer a small squad that is full of versatile players. The 116-time Japan international is certainly that.
He can play out wide, in the 10 role or up front. On a free, Andrea Radrizzani is likely to sanction a deal. But most importantly, Okazaki’s experience in the Premier League can help Leeds’ younger players.
Indeed, Tyler Roberts is shining in Okazaki’s position while Jack Clarke, Jamie Shackleton, Jordan Stevens and more are all impressing enough to have broken into the first team. Adding Okazaki to the side will only help.
So, Okazaki would be an excellent signing for Leeds if they gain promotion. He might just give them the tools necessary to avoid the drop.