Back in the early stages of the January transfer window of 2017, Premier League side Leicester City confirmed that they had signed midfielder Wilfred Ndidi.
The 22-year-old made the move to the King Power Stadium just six months on from the Foxes’ remarkable title-winning campaign, yet they lost the hugely influential N’Golo Kante to Chelsea that summer to leave a massive void in the middle of the park.
Yet manager-at-the-time Claudio Ranieri sealed a deal for Nigeria international Ndidi in a bid to plug that particular gap, with his arrival generating much optimism and celebration among plenty of Leicester fans on Twitter…
Special feeling about this one. Feels like we’re getting a real star. #WelcomeNdidi
— Alex Waterfield (@AlexWaterfield_) January 3, 2017
Better than Kante
— Tom (@tom_lcfc9) January 3, 2017
Glad to see you here wilfred #WelcomeNdidi
— John Walton (@DellfoxJw) January 3, 2017
— Sean from Enderby (@seanfromenderby) January 3, 2017
— Harry (@HazB98) January 3, 2017
we’ve just resigned kante. Remember this tweet.
— Harrison Kent (@harrisonk_9) January 3, 2017
OMGGG WERE GONNA WIN THE LEAGUE.. AGAIN
— Ben (@Vardesque) January 3, 2017
YESSSS BETTER THAN KANTE
— Ryan (@OhffsRyan) January 3, 2017
And given just how impressive the 22-year-old has been for the Midlanders since his arrival two years ago, it’s clear that Ranieri and the club’s hierarchy pulled off a masterstroke back in 2017.
Ultimately, the Foxes were really struggling in their Premier League title defence when Ndidi made the move to the King Power Stadium, with it clear that the departure of Kante to Chelsea was hitting the Midlands outfit hard – after all, they had won just five Premier League games prior to January.
And while the 22-year-old went straight into a side that then lost five games in a row between January and February, ultimately spelling the end of Ranieri’s time at the club, the Nigerian star began to show his quality as the season progressed, even netting twice in victories over Stoke City and Watford to further underline his all round midfield capabilities.
And the former Genk star has continued to deliver the goods in the centre of the Leicester midfield, missing just five league games under a combination of Craig Shakespeare and Claude Puel last time round in their run to ninth place in the division, while he has started all 23 of their league matches this term as well to emphasise just how vital he is to this Foxes team.
And it’s the quality he brings, specifically off the ball, that has earned him many plaudits during his time at the King Power Stadium – breaking up play through tackles, interceptions, and overall great anticipation has seen him compared to predecessor Kante, a role many felt simply couldn’t be filled such was the Frenchman’s brilliance.
Yet Ndidi has gone some way to doing just that in the last two years, and at the tender age of 22, he looks set for an extremely bright future in the Premier League – there’s a reason there has been interest from top-flight giants in recent times (as per The Sun via The Daily Mirror).
Clearly then, while Leicester were faced with the seemingly impossible job of replacing Kante, they have proven up to the task in landing Ndidi, with his arrival back in 2017 proving to be a transfer masterstroke by the Midlands outfit.
Leicester fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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