How Leicester City’s New Nigerian Signing Will Fit Into Ranieri’s Plans

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Premier League Champions Leicester City signed Ahmed Musa earlier this month in a deal worth £16million, signing a four-year-deal with the Foxes. Leicester have signed the 23-year-old striker to give them better attacking options ahead of their title defence and Champions League campaign, I take a look at how he will fit into the squad next season.

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Leicester City have splashed the cash in order to sign the 23-year-old Nigerian international and there is enough evidence why the have done so. Claudio Ranieri identified that his attacking options needed more quality and depth and they have certainly added that with the signing of Musa. The right-footed attacker is capable of playing on either flank, as a striker and will bring versatility to the Foxes forward line.

Musa’s versatility will help Ranieri massively, mainly favouring a 4-4-2 formation last season which saw him win the league, Musa’s arrival allows Ranieri to switch to a 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 with the Vardy, Ulloa, Musa and Okazaki all competing for a central spot. Musa could play out wide in the five in midfield or can play through the middle / wide in a front three. Having a versatile option means Leicester should remain unpredictable as clubs attempt to nullify the threat of the Champions.

Musa is the perfect counter-attacking striker, much like Jamie Vardy, this will be useful for Leicester City going into next season as they are a counter attacking side. Musa’s blistering pace is his main attribute, he combines his speed and ability to glide by defenders with close dribbling which opens up space for him to put dangerous crosses into the box.

Playing in the Premier League, Musa will love the physicality and speed of the league, Leicester could use Musa as a target man at times as another main strength of his is his ability to hold onto the ball and retain possession for his side, this is another reason why he is perfect for the Foxes who play their best football when they set up to counter. Problems could potentially arise next season when Leicester face teams who sit back against them, as Vardy and Musa are not the best strikers in tight situations.

A fox in the box is one way to describe Musa, his good goal scoring record has saw the versatile attacker score 42 goals in 125 league appearances for his former club CSKA Moscow.

Musa will be partnering the record breaker Jamie Vardy next season and they could turn out to be a deadly partnership. Musa averaged a shot every 34.9 minutes, compared to strike partner Jamie Vardy’s 28.6.

As suggested, The tinker-man (Ranieri) could change to a favoured 4-3-3 formation to deploy all three of Vardy, Okazaki and Musa. The Nigerian will need to settle into life in England but with his style of play, he should be just fine.

Aerial duels and offside awareness problems

With the Foxes counter-attacking style of play, Musa will need to improve on his offside awareness, he often finds himself a step behind the defence and can be flagged up time and time again. If Ranieri deploys Musa as a target-man, he will need to improve on his movement and ensure he is in an onside position when receiving the ball.

Musa does hold European experience, playing in the Champions League for his former club last season. His statistics in this competition clearly identifies his underlying problems in aerial duels, managing to win just 27.78% in Europe last season, this could turn out to be a problem for the Foxes going into next season as Jamie Vardy, who Musa will accompany upfront, also lacks efficiency in the air.

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At 23-years-old he has improved massively in recent seasons, he has blistering pace, but his technical skills are not perfect, and coming up against some of the best defenders in Europe he may struggle if there is no space for him to run in behind them.

This thought is backed up with Musa managing to be successful with less than half of his take ons last season (48%), without individual brilliant skills applied in his game he may struggle in a 1 on 1 situation.

This trait reminds me a lot of Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, both players are gifted with very good pace, but are unable to do much with the ball in tight situations, both players are one dimensional but will need to adapt their game to become a more successful player.

Where does he fit in?

I recently wrote about Leicester sticking with the 4-4-2 next season and I will stick by this, although Musa will give them options to change formation if needed.

I believe Vardy and Musa will be the two up top going into the new season, The Foxes went all out for the 23-year-old so it is highly unlikely he will be a bench warmer to Okazaki.

Although Musa is a versatile attacker, he has to play centrally as his lack of skills can be a problem to beat his marker on the wings, but he will have freedom to roam around, similar to Vardy and pull defenders wide to open space for him to run into.

Vardy and Musa share similar traits in their game, speed, counter attacking style and clinical finishing, if Vardy retains last seasons form for next season then both players could bring out the best in eachother.

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