Why Leicester City need to make a decision on the future Kelechi Iheanacho
As per the report, Besiktas want to enter into negotiations with the Foxes over an 18-month loan deal for Iheanacho, with the 23-year-old Nigerian international very much a peripheral figure in the first-team fold under Brendan Rodgers.
Iheanacho, who came through the door at the King Power Stadium from Man City back in the summer of 2017 for a fee of £25 million, has only played a bit-part role under the likes of Craig Shakespeare, Claude Puel and Rodgers, making only 16 starts in the Premier League from a possible 84.
Despite Rodgers confirming last month that Iheanacho is still very much a part of his plans moving forward (h/t Leicestershire Live), the Nigerian is yet to make a single appearance in the Premier Leauge for the Foxes, with his cameo in the 4-0 rout of Luton Town in the Carabao Cup being his only involvement thus far this term.
The 23-year-old did find the net in the cup game but that, apparently, hasn’t been enough to convince Rodgers of his credentials and the striker currently finds himself stuck in limbo at Leicester until January.
He still has a contract at the King Power Stadium until 2022 but, with summer recruit Ayoze Perez establishing himself as the preferred understudy to Jamie Vardy under Rodgers, things are unlikely to take a turnaround in the positive direction as far as Iheanacho is concerned.
The 23-cap Nigerian international was used regularly as an impact player off the bench by former Foxes manager Claude Puel, with the striker starting 9 and making a further 21 substitute appearances in the Premier League the last term.
Iheanacho, though, managed to find the net only once in 931 minutes of Premier League football in the previous campaign and it is easy to see as to why he has been frozen out of the playing eleven by Rodgers this term, with the move versatile and technically-gifted Perez clearly ahead of him in the pecking order.
Leicester would have hoped to land themselves an ideal long-term successor to the throne of Jamie Vardy when Kelechi Iheanacho came through the door with a lofty price tag from Man City a couple of years back but his failure to cement a first-team place under three different managers is indicative of the deficiencies in his game.
Having netted 21 goals in 64 games for Man City, Iheanacho arrived at Leicester with a promising scoring record but his productivity has dropped significantly over the past two seasons, with the 23-year-old only managing meagre returns of 11 goals in 64 outings for the Foxes.
Now, whether that has got something to do with his lack of commitment or it is simply a matter of lacking the right mentality to make a big impact in a league as competitive as the Premier League, it has to be said that the Foxes need to make a decision on the future Kelechi Iheanacho sooner rather than later.
With Rodgers seemingly not keen to hand him regular minutes, it hardly makes any sense for Leicester to keep him on their payroll for doing next to nothing, nor does it for Iheanacho, who should be keen to play a lot more football at the age of 23.
Undoubtedly, the Nigerian international has got the potential to cut the mustard in Europe but warming the benches at the King Power Stadium isn’t going to do his career any good.
With that in mind, the Foxes should be open to moving him on in January in a bid to cut down their wage bills and given his failure to make an impact, few would rue his departure from Leicester City.
Besiktas are yet to make an official enquiry about Kelechi Iheanacho but if the Turkish heavyweights to firm up their interest in the 23-year-old in January, the Foxes should pounce on the opportunity to offload one of their glorified benchwarmers.
Looking at things from the player’s perspective, a move to less intense surroundings in Turkey could help him reinvigorate his faltering career and eventually convince a potential suitor to prise him away from Leicester City with a permanent deal.
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It is clear that he doesn’t have a future at Leicester and cashing in on him in the upcoming transfer windows would provide the club with some valuable cash to fund reinvestment, even if it means allowing him to move on at a loss.
All in all, Leicester City parting ways with the 23-year-old would be in the best interests of all parties involved.