In the summer of 2015, Leicester City signed Japan international Shinji Okazaki in a deal believed to be worth £7 million.
He was never a prolific goalscorer during his time in Germany but he was still regarded as a reliable striker who had an excellent all-round game.
In his final season with Mainz 05, the former Stuttgart striker scored 12 goals while also recording six assists. The season before that, he had managed to notch up 15 and on the face of it, it seemed as though Leicester City had pulled off a good piece of business.
The striker was an instant hit with the fans in his first-season with the club and here’s what they said on his arrival.
— Harry (@Harrylcfc123) June 26, 2015
— Westwood (@5_WESTWOOD) June 26, 2015
— Chris Roberts (@cproberts100) June 26, 2015
— Mark Smith (@marksmithsports) June 26, 2015
While Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez stole the headlines for their phenomenal performances during Leicester City’s incredible title-winning campaign, Okazaki was a crucial player in Claudio Ranieri’s side.
His work rate off the ball was exceptional, and in a team that became known for its intense style of play, he was a superb fit. He only scored five goals in his first season but it was undeniable that he was a vital cog in the team and a fan favourite.
He carried that over into his second season with the club although he couldn’t match his goal tally from the preceding season.
Last year, despite struggling with an ankle injury in the backend of the season he recorded his best year with the club as he scored six goals in 27 games for the club in the league. As a result of his superb performances during Jamie Vardy’s injury, Leicester finished the season 9th.
This year his game time has decreased significantly due to an injury at the beginning of the season. In Claude Puel’s side, he has only managed to start one game and has only been given a handful of substitute appearances for the side.
Despite his decreasing role this season, Okazaki has proven to be a solid signing for Leicester over the last few years and one that the Leicester fans rightly praised.