Patson Daka has signed for Leicester City in a deal worth around £23 million from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg. The Zambian forward joins after a scintillating season in the Austrian Bundesliga where he scored 27 goals in 28 games.
Leicester have relied upon Jamie Vardy for some time now and once again he was their leading scorer and assist provider in the 2020/21 season with 15 goals and nine assists in the Premier League. At 34 years of age, Vardy is coming towards the end of his career and ensuring there is a successor to him has proven a tough task for the Leicester hierarchy.
Kelechi Iheanacho had his most productive season of his career alongside Vardy though has struggled since arriving to secure his place in the side. Last season, under Brendan Rodgers, Leicester played to a way which really benefited Iheanacho. After just four goals in his first20 appearances, mostly as a substitute, in the first half of the 2020/21 season, Iheanacho went on to score 16 in 24 games from January 2021.
With Iheanacho not having been a reliable and consistent goal scorer in his career to date, it was vital for Leicester to identify a player who showed the potential to take on the Vardy role. The acceleration to get in behind the defence and composure in front of goal to help the midlands side compete for the top four next season is key to Rodgers philosophy at Leicester. Iheanacho provides a different style of centre forward play but Vardy has been consistent for a number of seasons, and his style of play suits Leicester’s tactical game plan perfectly.
Daka, just 22-years-old, has shown his ability as a vertical threat for RB Salzburg, with his movement across the pitch being difficult for defenders to manage and his pace to get in behind makes him a solid long term Vardy replacement.
He will move from his central position to get in behind full backs, moving central defenders out of position and creating space for his teammates. He can collect the ball and run at defenders well, with good skill and control at high speed. He also has a variety of goals, finishing well with his head as well as creating shooting opportunities in the box with quick feet and good control.
When Vardy has not been able to into games Leicester have struggled, and this signing looks set to try to build on the successes they have had with Vardy and look to support their attacking transition play going into the new season. Daka can provide depth in the squads attacking line up as well as challenge for the starting role, he also provides flexibility where at times he can play from wide areas.
Leicester are continuing to build and compete with the biggest sides in the Premier League and squad depth with quality is vital to do this.
Having taken the role at RB Salzburg from Erling Haaland after his move to Borussia Dortmund, Daka stepped up and handled the pressure remarkably well. In the two seasons since Haaland left, Daka has 51 goals in 59 Austrian Budesliga games. Having taken over from such a talked about star, he has shown the ability and the maturity to cope with adapting to being seen as the “New Jamie Vardy” by some and making the role his own.
If Daka can settle well and quickly in Leicester, they look to have brought in a top class striker for a modest fee in Premier League terms. RB Salzburg too will be happy with the finances of the deal, having signed Daka for just £275,000 in 2017.
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