A promising career at Manchester City was blocked by the Gabriel Jesus. But a move to Leicester City could see Kelechi Iheanacho reaching his potential
With Pep Guardiola building a star-studded Manchester City squad with the aim of achieving both domestic and international dominance, Kelechi Iheanacho’s time seems to be over at the Etihad Stadium as the Nigerian striker is judged as inferior to Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus.
It’s a shame that a talent like Iheanacho can’t get his chance at a big club, because the footballer’s potential is unquestionable. He showed it at the U17 World Cup in 2013, where he won the Golden Ball by leading Nigeria to the title and scoring six and assisting seven goals in the process.
At the time, Iheanacho was still playing for the local Taye Academy in Owerri, Nigeria. It didn’t take long, however, before European clubs began to take notice of this rising African forward. Manchester City eventually secured his services and Iheanacho joined the club in January 2014. The speedy striker started off in the youth academy but in the 2015/16 season, Iheanacho joined up with the first team.
The Nigerian experienced his breakthrough season, scoring fourteen times in 35 appearances across all competitions; a decent tally bearing in mind his age at the time (19) and the fact he usually started on the bench.
The consecutive season was less successful, though, as Iheanacho managed to hit the back of the net just seven times in six fewer appearances. The arrival of Brazilian sensation Gabriel Jesus put a hold to his impressive progression and limited the forward’s minutes. It has left the Nigerian international to just one conclusion; leave the club.
Kelechi Iheanacho's record in the Premier League for Man City:
19 shots on target 🎯
12 goals scored ⚽️
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 6, 2017
This week reports have emerged of Iheanacho making a €28M move to 2015/16 Premier League champions Leicester City. The 20-year-old is in advanced talks with The Foxes and is thought to be keen to make the switch.
It would be a sensible next step for the No9.
At Leicester, he will find competition but not by any stretch of the imagination as strong as at City. Alongside Jamie Vardy, Iheanacho can become a deadly strike force, capable of polishing off any team on the counter-attack. To replicate a title-winning campaign seems impossible but with the squad as composed as now, a relegation battle looks out of the question as well.
Iheanacho can develop himself into a player that can get 15/20 league goals per season at Leicester. With his pace, power, and his prolific left foot, Iheanacho has all the qualities to become a top-class striker.
Didier Drogba needs a successor and Iheanacho has the potential to become Africa’s next leading striker in the Premier League.