Leicester City's January transfer window reviewed

Leicester City's January transfer window reviewed

The window has been closed now for a over a week and we look at the comings and goings from the King Power Stadium as well as a dramatic transfer deadline day for the Foxes.

Tom Simms

Leicester City had approached the New Year on the back of a bad spell of four games without a win. It seemed as though manager Claude Puel might need to freshen up the team and create some competition for places.

New Years day. First new signing.

Business was done early on the 1st of January in the form of the Portuguese midfielder, Adrien Silva. The deal, a £22million transfer from Sporting Lisbon, was finally completed after the Foxes famously missed the deadline by just 14 seconds back in August. Silva had been training with the Squad however at Belvoir Drive to maintain his fitness levels.

Speaking about his wait for clearance by the Premier League, Silva said: "I've been working hard every day to arrive at this moment and I'm in good shape.”

"It's been very important to keep training because it's a long time not playing. There is nothing better than the game."

Silva was ironically given the number 14 for a shirt number and has since been slowly introduced into the first team. He has been perceived well by the Foxes faithful and has shown glimpses of class when paired up with the Spaniard Vicente Iborra in the centre of the park.


Claude’s second signing

It wasn’t much longer into the month when the Leicester manager had brought in his second signing of the window. Fousseni Diabate signed from French Ligue 2 side Gazelec Ajaccio in a deal reportedly worth £4.4million.

The 22-year-old Mali international, capped at youth level, joined the foxes on a four-and-a-half-year deal. Predominantly a striker, but he is also able to play out on either wing.

Diabate exploded onto the scene for Leicester in the FA Cup Fourth Round match against Peterborough United. Playing and switching on both wings throughout the match with pacy runs at the posh defence, he bagged himself two goals as well as turning provider setting up Wilfred N'didi late into the game. Unfortunately, the winger has so far been unable to impress in the Premier League in the same way he did on his debut.

Four strikers head out on loan

Towards the end of the window, there was much talk about the futures of several fringe players at City. Such players as Leonardo Ulloa, Ahmed Musa and Islam Slimani were finding it hard to get game time sharing only 16 Premier League appearances between them.

First to leave was the 25-year-old Nigerian international, Ahmed Musa. Having failed to implement himself into Puel’s plans, Musa was sent on loan back to CSKA Moscow after only joining from the Russian side in the summer in 2016.

Leonardo Ulloa was another player set to return to a former club. On deadline day, the 31-year-old Argentine rejoined Brighton and Hove Albion on loan until the end of the season. Ulloa has scored 20 goals in 102 games during his stay with Leicester, including some memorable strikes in the Premier League survival campaign of 2014/15.

Islam Slimani was linked away from the King Power Stadium  throughout the whole of the window to many Clubs, including West Ham and Chelsea. It was Newcastle United who won the battle for the loan signing of the Algerian who has scored 13 times in 46 appearances since joining from Sporting Lisbon from a record fee of £28 million.

Elsewhere, 20-year-old Spanish Striker Raul Uche joined La Liga side Real Betis on loan until the end of the season. Uche has been part of Leicester’s development squad since joining from Rayo Vallecano in 2016. He is yet to make a first team appearance.


Much ado about Mahrez

Unfortunately, the deadline day news was shrouded in controversy regarding the future of Riyad Mahrez that the deals completed for Andy King and Callum Wright were somewhat overlooked.

Welshman Andy King holds a neat record for being the only player in history to win League One, the Championship and the Premier League with the same club. He has played his entire career with Leicester and has made over 375 appearances for the Foxes. Despite not necessarily being the first name on the team sheet, City fans could always rely on the midfielder for his work rate and consistent performances. 

However, King has only made 11 Premier League appearances this season, most coming from the bench. With the arrival of Portuguese international midfielder Adrien Silva to play alongside the inform Wilfred Ndidi and Vicente Iborra it seemed as though King was surplus to requirements to City manager Claude Puel.

The midfielder was sent out to Swansea City in a loan deal that will last until the end of the season.

Another deadline-day-deal was done in the form of the arrival of youngster Callum Wright to Leicester from Blackburn Rovers. The 17-year-old has played in the rovers under 23 squad previously and comes in high regard.