Transfer Talk: Things are Look-ing up for Ademola at Leicester
Ademola Lookman might have finally found a long-term home.
The 24-year-old winger has caught the eye for Leicester while on loan from RB Leipzig this season and a permanent move could be on the cards.
Playing a part in prolonging the Foxes’ European journey will only increase the likelihood of a deal being done — and he has the opportunity to do just that in tonight’s Europa Conference League clash with Randers.
Ahead of the first leg of their knockout round play-off, we take a look at how Lookman has adapted to life so quickly at the King Power Stadium.
Consistently on the move
Prior to this season, Lookman was only a regular starter in one of his previous five campaigns.
That was last term when the versatile ace was a standout performer for Fulham despite their relegation from the Premier League.
Such upheaval stunts development and it is no surprise to see him thriving now that he is in the first-team picture for a second successive season.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers alluded to this not long after signing him last summer.
He said: "If he can get a home and really settle, and build his career in a really good environment and really good culture, I think he can really flourish over the next number of years.
"He’s moved around a few clubs, partly because he’s a talent, people want him."
A developmental manager
Rodgers may have some flaws as a manager but he is one of the best coaches in the Premier League.
The former Liverpool boss helped develop the likes of Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge while at Anfield.
He also aided Odsonne Eduoard, Kieran Tierney and Moussa Dembele when in charge of Celtic.
Similarly, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Ben Chilwell, who joined Chelsea in 2020, have all scaled new heights during his time in the East Midlands.
It is no coincidence Lookman is enjoying himself under the Northern Irishman's tutelage.
Rodgers likes to assemble a versatile squad. He needs as many multifunctional players as possible to execute the variety of systems he likes to operate with.
It is one of the reasons Lookman has been able to shine for the Foxes.
Adept on either flank, Rodgers has been able to deploy him in a number of different situations.
For example, the former England Under-21s international came off of the bench to score the winner against Liverpool in December while playing on the left. However, he has mostly featured on the right this season.
His explosiveness from a standing start gives him the upper hand in battles with full-backs and often allows him to beat opponents on the outside.
A goal threat
Lookman has yet to get off the mark in Europe for the Foxes but he has averaged 0.32 goals per 90 minutes across all competitions.
As evidenced by his shot map above, he has a knack for getting into the right areas and is reluctant to attempt low-value efforts from distance.
With Leicester often utilising Jamie Vardy’s speed and the passing ability of their midfielders to play on the break, it creates chaotic moments.
The former Everton attacker’s pace allows him to keep up with the play and benefit from that disorder.
Rodgers recently questioned the mentality of some of his players.
After a torrid run of form, there is talk things need freshening up and a summer overhaul could be on the cards.
If Lookman impresses during his remaining outings this campaign, he could force his way into the club’s long-term thinking. After all, there is a position up for grabs on the right side of Leicester’s attack.
The Wandsworth native is without a goal in 2022 and his last assist arrived in the 4-1 FA Cup win over Watford in early January. Coincidentally, that was also Leicester’s last victory.
This evening’s game against Randers offers an opportunity for both the player and the team to build some confidence ahead of the business end of the season.