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What next for forgotten Leicester City talent Bartosz Kapustka?

The Polish midfielder has played just four times for Leicester City.

Mathew Nash

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Two years ago Bartosz Kapustka burst onto the scene with a series of memorable performances at Euro 2016 with Poland. He produced some fine performances for his nation, in particular in the opening game against Northern Ireland.

Such eye-catching performances soon had clubs around Europe trying to snatch him from his then club Cracovia. In the end, it was recently crowned Premier League champions Leicester City that managed to win the race for his signature.

The club paid a fee reported by Sky Sports to be in the region of £7.5 million for the player who was tipped for big things at the King Power Stadium.

However, that has not been the case. Two years on from his brilliant Euro 2016 displays and the 21-year-old still has not made his Premier League debut for the Foxes. Deemed not ready for Premier League football, he was loaned out to SC Freiburg last summer with a view to a permanent deal. But, again, it has been a struggle.

(during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Ukraine and Poland at Stade Velodrome on June 21, 2016 in Marseille, France.

Kapustka has failed to thrive in Germany and the Bundesliga side have no intention of signing him permanently.

So what next?

At the end of May, a report in Poland suggested Kapustka, who has a contract at Leicester until 2021, was set to terminate his contract and potentially join Legia Warsaw.

So far, that has not happened but it does appear his future will not be at Leicester.

He may get pre-season to prove himself. However, he should have been one of the stars in the Poland national team by now, looking to lead them to glory in Russia at the World Cup. Instead, he will be watching from afar.

Leicester fans will no doubt regard the £7.5 million signing a dud if he cannot turn things around this summer.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ash

    June 13, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Mate, as a Leicester fan, I don’t want to consider any player a dud. I genuinely want the best for the kid; whether it’s with us or elsewhere, he’s got talent. If anything, I’m gutted we haven’t been able to get it out of him. I still hope he does get a chance to prove himself. However, if he does half as well as Kramaric when/if he leaves, I’ll be happy for him. No one should be considered a dud; I players deserve a bit more respect.

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Leicester City

Tottenham should move for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez in quest for creative forward

The Leicester City maestro could become a world beater at Tottenham.

Jamie Watts

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is undoubtedly looking to bolster his attacking options this term, and a number of stellar names have been linked with moves to north London. But so far nothing has gathered any real traction on that front.

A brief spell of hope in the pursuit of priority target Anthony Martial materialised yesterday, as his agent revealed the player’s desire to leave Manchester United, in quotes via RMC Sport. But, United sharply asserted that the player remains in their plans next season, just hours later, in reports from Sky Sports. And Pochettino will have reevaluate his targets once more.

One name the club has yet to be linked with is Leicester City‘s Riyad Mahrez. And that comes as something of a surprise, when considering the criteria Pochettino is looking for.

Photo: Getty Images

The Argentine coach is looking to improve the supply line to 41 goal striker Harry Kane, and few if any, are as creative as Mahrez in the final third in England. The former Premier League Player of the Year is able to play across all front-three roles, and is equally effective in all of them – amassing an impressive 13 goals and 13 assists in 41 appearances this term.

Mahrez is clearly looking to engineer a move away from the King Power Stadium, following his 10-day absence in January, after the club blocked the Algerian’s move to champions Manchester City (Sky Sports), and Tottenham should now join the running for his signature.

Photo: Getty Images

There are obvious concerns over the player’s valuation, with the Foxes turning down seriously lucrative bids of £60 million from Pep Guardiola in January, but Leicester are likely to concede for less now, as the player fulfilled his duty to the club – and they have time to bring in replacements, unlike transfer deadline day.

Daniel Levy will have to accept that a quality attacking addition capable of propelling Spurs to silverware will cost a serious fee, and it’s simply a sign of the times if he doesn’t want to fall behind rivals in the quest for the highest honours.

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Juventus

Blow for Newcastle as Leicester bid big on midfielder Stefano Sturaro

Leicester City have reportedly made an official approach for the Newcastle target.

Jamie Watts

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Newcastle United have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Juventus midfielder Stefano Sturaro, as Leicester City have sent a lucrative offer to Turin for his signature, according to Sky Sports Italia.

Juventus value the player at around £18 million, but the Foxes have fallen short with their initial offer of £11 million, in an attempt to compromise.

Newcastle will hope the Serie A champions reject the offer, as they have been courting Sturaro closely over the last month, having reportedly made an enquiry for his services, according to Calcio Mercato.

Photo: Getty Images

Mikel Merino has been consistently linked with a move away from St James’ Park this summer, despite revealing his desire to build on last season in the Premier League (Newcastle official). And Athletic Bilbao are the latest to show interest in bringing the Spaniard back to his native home.

As a result Rafa Benitez is lining up potential replacements, and the Italian international is high on the wish-list.

Since moving to Juve from Genoa in 2014, the Italian midfielder has won Serie A four times, the Coppa Italia four times, the Supercoppa Italiana once and reached the final of the Champions League twice.

But these achievements are marred by Sturaro’s minor role in the current side. The 25-year-old made just 12 appearances – with seven starts – in the Serie A last season, as Max Allegri led the side to a record-breaking seventh straight Scudetto.

Newcastle

Photo: Getty Images

Playing time will register high on the list of priorities for the midfielder next term and Newcastle would certainly offer him that, with the likes of Mohamed Diame past his best years at 31, and nearing his natural end on Tyneside. Although Leicester can offer the same.

Benitez will now have to take the initiative and match Leicester’s bid for the Italian, if they have serious hopes of landing him this summer.

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Leicester City

World Cup One To Watch: Nigeria’s 22-year-old striker Kelechi Iheanacho

The Nigeria international will be a player to keep an eye out for in Russia.

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Kelechi Iheanacho
Photo: Getty Images

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho will be one of the more familiar names to Premier League fans at this month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The 22-year-old, who is set to represent Gernot Rohr’s Nigerian National Team in Russia, will be hoping to build on a strong finish to the season at club level.

While more experienced players such as Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel will be hugely important for Nigeria, the Foxes striker has the tools to make the difference.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

Who is he?

A clinical goalscorer in Manchester City‘s academy set-up, a series of eye-catching displays in the Etihad outfit’s 2015/16 pre-season saw the young striker called on for first-team duties for the first time in August 2015

His goal return in his maiden Premier League season at Manchester City – eight goals in 753 minutes  – was absolutely phenomenal. However, he was deemed surplus to requirements after the arrival of Pep Guardiola.

His big money summer move to Leicester City could have been an ideal fit, but he has ultimately suffered from Jamie Vardy’s continued scoring form at King Power Stadium, restricting him to fleeting cameos.

In his debut season for the Foxes, Iheanacho netted just three times in 21 outings. The summer World Cup, therefore, could provide a genuine career crossroad for the 22-year-old talent.

What is his international experience/record?

Iheanacho emerged at the Under-17 World Cup in 2014, where his displays earned him the FIFA Golden Ball award and saw his country crowned world champions – scoring six times and grabbing seven assists in the process.

At senior international level, Iheanacho made his Nigeria debut in 2015 and, despite his young age, has firmly established himself as a key man for his country. In 18 appearances for Rohr’s side, he has scored eight times.

Why will he be a breakout World Cup star?

Kelechi Iheanacho will be fired up and looking forward to the 2018 World Cup in Russia with great expectations, after playing his part throughout qualification.

The former Manchester City forward has a clinical eye for goal and if he is presented with even the slimmest of opportunities to hit the back of the next this summer, he will do so. For that, he could be instrumental.

His direct running upfront will see him cause trouble on the counter, which may be the Super Eagles’ best hope of escaping a group containing Argentina, Iceland and Croatia.

Despite scoring just three times for the Foxes, Iheanacho showed improved form towards the end of the campaign and he will be looking to take this positivity to Russia ahead of his World Cup debut.

Following up his great display against Arsenal, which saw him named in the Premier League Team of the Week, the 22-year-old was on target for the in a season-concluding defeat to Tottenham.

What is his future after the World Cup?

After a somewhat underwhelming start to life at the King Power Stadium, suitors for Iheanacho are unlikely to take the shape of the Premier League elite.

Having signed for the Foxes for a fee understood by BBC Sport to be £25 million, another club will not improve on that price in the form of a bid – and his current side would be unlikely to let him leave for any less.

The summer’s competition in Russia could be the perfect platform for Iheanacho to ignite his club career, which will see Leicester fans watching his performances with intent.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

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