£25m midfielder reportedly told club to start looking for his replacement in January after revealing his agreement to join Arsenal now that the World Cup is over
£25m player reportedly told club to start looking for his replacement in January after revealing his agreement to join Arsenal after world cup
Leicester City are reportedly keeping tabs on Lorient midfielder Enzo La Fee as a potential replacement for Youri Tielemans, who has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal at the end of the current season. The latter will be out of contract next summer as things stand and is not expected to agree a new deal at the King Power Stadium, which suggests that he will be leaving the Foxes on a free transfer when the season draws to a close.
There is still time for Leicester to convince Tielemans that it would be in his best interests to sign a new and improved contract, but it seems as if they have already accepted that he will be seeking a fresh challenge in advance of next season. The east Midlands club have decided to explore the market for a suitable midfielder to replace Tielemans and have settled on La Fee as a result of his impressive recent performances for Lorient, according to 90min.
It is claimed that La Fee has been identified as a priority target by those in power at Leicester after helping Lorient to make a fast start to the new Ligue 1 campaign, with the French outfit currently sitting in fourth place. The 22-year-old has chipped in with two goals and two assists since the beginning of the campaign and has also been recognised at international level by France, who selected him to feature at the Olympics earlier this year.
Leicester’s decision to target a move for La Fee suggests that Tielemans will almost certainly be leaving the club when his contract expires, with Arsenal reportedly set to wait until the summer in order to snap him up without needing to pay a transfer fee. However, the Foxes would likely be open to offers at the turn of the year as they look to avoid running the risk of seeing him leave for free ahead of next season.
It is hard to imagine that Arsenal will be the only club with a plan to chase Tielemans at the end of the campaign, though, with the former Monaco ace having established himself as one of Leicester’s most important players since joining them for a club-record fee back in 2019. He has featured in every Premier League game for the Foxes so far this season and looks set to play a key role for Brendan Rodgers’ side for as long as he remains at the King Power Stadium.
Arsenal, meanwhile, could reap the rewards of speeding up a move for Tielemans in order to shore up their midfield ranks in preparation for the Premier League run-in. They have already been urged to firm up their interest in the Leicester midfielder by former Gunners striker Alan Smith, who recently insisted that Mikel Arteta would reap the rewards of having the 25-year-old at his disposal next season.
“He is a quality player, Tielemans, no doubt about that,” Smith told Sky Sports News. “It was flat for him last season at Leicester, maybe he had an eye on elsewhere [but] we have seen over the last few seasons what he can do.
“He isn’t somebody who you would describe as being a holding midfielder. He has great energy, and vision, knows where the goal is and it would be a coup for Arsenal to bring him in at the club.”