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Does under-used Iheanacho need to leave Leicester City?

14:19 GMT+3 28/12/2021
Kelechi Iheanacho Leicester 2021-22
The Nigerian has struggled for game time of late, such that a cloud of doubt now surrounds his future with the Foxes

The year 2021 of Kelechi Iheanacho’s Leicester City career can be described as a roller-coaster ride.

The 25-year-old has gone from luxury squad player to the most in-form forward in the Premier League at one point and now back to struggling for gametime all in the space of 12 months.

His latest showing in Leicester’s 6-3 defeat against his former side, Manchester City, perhaps reminded everyone of his abilities and what he can provide upfront.

However, those qualities can only be visible if he gets the chance to do so...on a consistent basis.

Sorry case of being second fiddle

An unfortunate theme has been the case for Iheanacho in club colours since he moved to English football in 2015. During his time at Manchester City and when still only a youngster, it was easy to understand that there was little to no chance of displacing a player, in Sergio Aguero, who ranks high among all the all-time great forwards in Premier League history.

Iheanacho moved to Leicester City in 2017 and once again found himself in a similar situation as he battled with established Foxes striker, Jamie Vardy.

He remained patient and the start of 2021 was his moment for a turnaround.

After scoring his first league goal of the season against Fulham back in February, the rest is history as he went on to enjoy a prolific run, as well as leading Leicester’s charge on their road to the first FA Cup triumph in their history.

After a 2020/21 campaign where he set a personal best of 19 goals and seven assists in 39 games, as well as being the club’s highest scorer that season - ahead of Vardy, it is perhaps no longer justifiable to see him scrap for minutes on the pitch.

All of the above leads to the question, does Iheanacho need to leave Leicester City?

‘Senior Man’ needs a bigger stage to flourish

Already 25, it’s safe to say Iheanacho should be approaching his peak years or at least be playing on a consistent basis. After five years in English football, the Nigerian can no longer be content with being a squad player, especially after leaving Manchester City in search of regular game-time in the first place.

One could make the case that Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has never fully trusted Iheanacho and it was only a long-term injury to Harvey Barnes last term that gave him room to play regularly in the first place.

The arrival of Zambia forward Patson Daka has not done any better for Iheanacho’s course and it is interesting to see that the former Salzburg man is already touted as Vardy’s successor, even in the presence of the Nigerian.

With the Afcon just around the corner, January would not come as a good time to switch club loyalties and even Leicester would surely be unwilling to sell the forward midway through the campaign.

However, it is high time the 25-year-old strongly considers a move elsewhere next summer.

Iheanacho should look to join a team where he will be afforded ample game time and the club can build around him as well as play to his strengths alongside.

Perhaps a breath of fresh air and a move outside England could be what he needs this time around.