Leicester City opinion – Shinji Okazaki to leave for free – good move?
According to a report in Telegraph, Leicester City striker Shinji Okazaki is heading for an exit from the King Power Stadium on a free transfer. His contract expires this summer and he is ready to end his four-year spell at the club.
The Japan international, who will soon be 33, arrived in England from Mainz in 2015 for a fee around £7.5m. (h/t Independent) He was one of the key assets in the Foxes’ miraculous title-winning season in 2015-16. (h/t Telegraph)
Under Claudio Ranieri, the striker was one of the most important players in the starting XI, where he used to work with Jamie Vardy up front and form a threatening partnership for the opposition defenders.
However, Okazaki is now ready to pursue a new challenge in the twilight of his career. Manager Brendan Rodgers has held talks with the player and there is an agreement, with the latter wanting to play regular football in preparation for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. (h/t Telegraph)
Here’s why Okazaki leaving this summer is good for all parties:
Playing time is the key
Since that title-winning season, where Okazaki played 36 league games for Leicester (only eight from the bench), he has mostly warmed the bench.
His starts count in seasons post 2015/16 is 21, 17 and 1 respectively. Hence, it is pretty clear that the Japanese star is no longer a regular option in the team.
Furthermore, Okazaki is more of a poacher in the box, rather than someone who will press from the front and run the channels. Rodgers wants his team to play football, involve the striker in the build-up and commands the centre-forward to press from the front.
Thus, this disparity in the manager’s playing style and how the player functions should lead to one thing – the departure of the latter.
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Therefore, it makes sense that Okazaki is willing to leave the club and pursue new options, possibly with an eye on the next World Cup. The manager is also in agreement with that. This summer exit will keep all parties happy.