Leicester City opinion: Pursuing Dennis Praet makes no sense for the Foxes
According to Leicestershire Live, Leicester City are prepared to double the wages of Belgian midfielder Dennis Praet in order to beat off competition from Serie A giants AC Milan in their pursuit of the highly-rated ace.
Praet, who currently plies his trade with Sampdoria in the Serie A, wants to move to a bigger club this summer and it is understood that Sampdoria are open to cashing in on the 25-year-old.
Leicestershire Live understands that the Foxes hold a long-standing interest in the player and manager Brendan Rodgers wants to wrap up a deal for him at the earliest after the club-record acquisition of Praet’s compatriot Youri Tielemans.
Leicester’s interest in Praet probably stems from the fact that French midfielder Nampalys Mendy has been linked with a move to Saint-Etienne after falling down the pecking order under Rodgers towards the end of the previous campaign. (h/t Leicestershire Live)
As well as the speculations linking Mendy with a move back to his homeland, Leciester’s desperation to sign Dennis Praet is apparently an indication that they are looking to strengthen the central midfield department even further ahead of the upcoming campaign.
The Foxes lost Vicente Iborra back in January but Portuguese international Adrien Silva is back at the King Power Stadium following a loan spell at Monaco in the second half of this past season, with Rodgers yet to make a call on his future.
Praet, who accumulated 27 goals and 39 assists in 182 appearances for Anderlecht over the course of five full seasons in his homeland, made his move to the Serie A with Sampdoria back in the summer of 2016.
The Belgian has gradually established himself as one of the mainstays of his club’s midfield in the Italian top-flight over the past three seasons and at 25, the time might just be right for him to move on to a bigger club and carve out a reputation for himself.
However, it is worth mentioning here that despite being a regular starter for Sampdoria, his returns in terms of goals and assists in the Serie A hasn’t been eye-watering by any means.
A tally of 4 goals and 6 assists in 104 appearances doesn’t justify his talent and potential, although he has largely been used in a box-to-box central midfield role at Sampdoria.
To put things into perspective, Dennis Praet is technically-gifted versatile central midfielder with well-rounded defensive and attacking attributes but it is really hard to understand as to why Leicester City are pushing so hard to get a deal for him over the line before the deadline, having already spent a fortune to make Tielemans’ stay permanent this summer.
As evident from the kind of philosophy that Rodgers used towards the end of the last season, the Foxes manager usually prefers only one holding or defensive midfielder in his eleven.
Wilfried Ndidi, who is one of the most promising young central defensive midfielders in the Premier League, played that role to perfection, with Mendy playing second-fiddle to the Nigerian.
In addition to that, Rodgers used two forward-thinking midfielders in Tielemans and Hamza Choudhury to complement Ndidi, with James Maddison shifting to a wider role on the left or a rather free-roaming role behind the striker to link up with his teammates.
Keeping that in mind, it is difficult to see how and where someone like Dennis Praet would fit into the manager’s plans for the upcoming season.
In James Maddison, Leicester City already have an influential No.10 and it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Foxes to keep the Belgian on extortionate wages because he would only arrive as an understudy to the Englishman.
Plus, they have already brought in Ayoze Perez, who is a hugely versatile player capable of playing in multiple roles in attacking midfield.
As far as the other midfield options are concerned, Praet would not be considered for a defensive midfield role in front of the back four, given that he lacks the physicality and the tackling skills of someone like Ndidi or even Choudhury for that matter.
Moreover, with Tielemans now in their ranks, the Foxes have already got a versatile central midfielder who can slot into attacking and box-to-box roles in the middle of the park, further nullifying the need to bring in someone like Praet.
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In all honesty, the 25-year-old, though a really gifted player, won’t be much of an upgrade on Leicester’s existing midfield options, and they would be better off shifting their focus to improve other areas of the squad.