Kelechi Iheanacho has long been one of Nigeria’s hottest talents, but it feels as though he has never quite reached his full potential. After signing for Leicester City from Manchester City in 2017, many thought that he would become a regular starter for the Foxes. However, his performances have been sporadic, and he has never nailed down a first team place.
When given the opportunity, Iheanacho has often showcased his stunning skills and dug his team out of trouble. This was especially true in the 2020-21 campaign when the Nigerian bagged 12 goals in ten games across March and April. The player will soon be entering the final year of his contract, though, and the club may look to sell him this summer to maximise his value.
Iheanacho Has Boosted Leicester’s Popularity in Nigeria
The Premier League has always been popular in Nigeria, and it’s listed as one of the top sports by bettors alongside tennis and basketball. This season, some people may have been tempted to stake on Leicester’s survival hopes, as a poor run of form put them in the relegation mix. However, as of mid-February, sportsbooks like Betway had them at 9/1 to go down, indicating that they may have battled to get out of trouble.
Iheanacho’s recent form helped the Foxes out of their slump, and he has once again take the opportunity to display his goal scoring and assisting abilities. There’s no doubt that the 26-year-old, along with teammate Wilfred Ndidi, has helped make Leicester a more popular team in Nigeria. There are a few other Nigerian nationals in the league, but none of them are as thrilling to watch as Iheanacho.
Striker Entering the Final Year of His Contract
When Iheanacho was going through his incredibly purple patch at the end of the 2020-21 season, Sky Sports reported that the club had tied him down to an extension with an improved contract offer. That deal is set to expire in 2024 and, if the player doesn’t sign another extension before then, Leicester will have to let him go for free. This would be a disaster, and it wouldn’t fit with the club’s clever strategic model of buying talented players cheap to later sell them on for a massive profit.
If Iheanacho is happy with his game time, he may want to stay at the King Power Stadium and accept a new offer. However, he may be getting frustrated with his regular substitute appearances under Brendan Rodgers and could be interested in a move away. Leicester Mercury notes how the player could seize his chance to become the main man in the Foxes’ attack this season, which would bode well for contract talks in the summer. If the club does decide to sell, the player should fetch a high price due to his age and ability. There would likely be many top clubs across Europe interested in the Nigerian.
There have been no reports so far to suggest that Iheanacho will be up for sale in the summer. However, Leicester will be worried about letting the player’s contract run down and then potentially losing him on a free transfer in 2024. If they don’t sell, they will have to try to tie him down with another contract extension.