In Focus: Ademola has the Look of a Leicester star in the making
It was a typically shrewd summer of transfer activity from Leicester — and the Foxes finished off their business in style with the signing of Ademola Lookman.
Brendan Rodgers’ side had already beaten clubs across the continent to the signatures of Red Bull Salzburg frontman Patson Daka and Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare.
Former Southampton duo Ryan Bertrand and Jannik Vestergaard had also been recruited but it took until the final day of the transfer window for Leicester to bring in Lookman on loan from RB Leipzig.
Ahead of today’s clash with Manchester City, here is why the Foxes’ newest addition can help fire them to Champions League qualification this season.
Premier League proven
Lookman spent the previous campaign on loan at Fulham, where the winger was a permanent fixture in Scott Parker’s relegated side — making 34 league appearances while chipping in with four goals and four assists.
The former Under-20 World Cup winner made an instant impact upon arriving in West London, scoring on his first start for the club with a terrific solo goal against Sheffield United.
Lookman then proceeded to only miss three league games all season, solidifying his place on the left of the Cottagers’ front three.
That recent Premier League experience should see the 23-year-old adapt almost instantly to life in the East Midlands, rather than needing time to get up to speed at his new club.
Although predominantly featuring on the left for Fulham, Lookman is more than capable of operating in a number of roles across the forward line.
He broke into the Charlton first team in 2015 as a striker after scoring prolifically for the club’s U-18 and U-21 sides.
The forward has also been deployed just behind a lone frontman, striking up an impressive partnership with Yussuf Poulsen in that role during his spell at Leipzig.
Lookman is equally as able to play on the right, however — and that is where he is most likely to feature for the Foxes.
Academy graduate Harvey Barnes is a mainstay on the left for Rodgers’ side but there is an opening on the opposite flank for the man from Wandsworth to stake a claim.
It was a lack of quality on the right wing that saw Rodgers ditch his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation for a three at the back system at times last season.
Neither Marc Albrighton nor Ayoze Perez were able to nail down a starting berth, while former loanee Cengiz Under failed to live up to expectations at the King Power Stadium.
The addition of Lookman will provide some much-needed attacking thrust on the right side and should make the Foxes a more balanced outfit in 2021-22.
A cutting edge
Rodgers demands goals from his wingers and has previously made no secret of his desire for Leicester star Barnes to develop a greater end product.
The Foxes boss said: “When I came in you could see his [Barnes'] talent, but he needed to add more goals and week by week he has started to do that.”
The same will be required from Lookman, who could undoubtedly improve on the four Premier League goals he scored last term.
The winger will be hoping to channel the form he has previously displayed in Leipzig, where he scored five goals and contributed three assists in just 11 appearances during 2017-18.
Rodgers has acquired a reputation as one of the best coaches in England, and his track record of improving players is second to none.
Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi and the aforementioned Barnes have all improved exponentially under the tutelage of the Northern Irishman.
That is something that Lookman will undoubtedly be looking to make the most of, with the wide man citing his new coach’s managerial credentials as a huge factor in deciding to move to the East Midlands.
The Foxes will be hoping to see Lookman soar at the King Power Stadium — and with an option to buy in the loan deal, they will be ready to pounce if he does indeed begin to reach his potential.