It is unlikely we will ever see a repeat of Leicester City’s 2015/16 title triumph in the Premier League.
Having been on the brink of relegation just 12 months earlier, the Foxes won the title, becoming just the sixth team to do so at the time. The likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez cost just £1m and £450,000 respectively, yet they somehow managed to rise to the very top of English football.
Ben Chilwell just missed out on that incredible campaign, but he has been a valuable member of the team ever since.
This year, as Brendan Rodgers’ men sit in third place, he has played 23 out of a possible 29 games in the top flight, and his importance in recent years has been reflected by his Transfermarkt value – in August 2016, he was worth just £2.25m, but that number now stands at £45m.
Here, we take a look at three factors contributing to Chilwell’s meteoric rise in value…
The 23-year-old first burst onto the scene during the 2016/17 season, the year after that stunning title win. It was to prove to be a tumultuous campaign for Leicester – they would end the season in 12th place, with Craig Shakespeare replacing Claudio Ranieri at the start of the year – but it was an important one for the youngster.
That term, he made 12 appearances in the league, sharing the left back role with Christian Fuchs, whilst he also featured twice in the Champions League. All in all, he played 19 times in all competitions, and from then on, the only way was up.
It wasn’t long before Chilwell caught the eye of Gareth Southgate and the England staff. He didn’t quite make it into the 2018 World Cup squad, a tournament in which the Three Lions reached the semi-finals, but he was called up at the very next opportunity, for a friendly in September against Switzerland.
He has been included in every other squad since then, playing in all but two of the UEFA Nations League fixtures, in which England finished in third place.
Against Montenegro, in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, he created three goals in a 7-0 victory. Despite the final tournament being postponed until 2021, he is likely to be well in contention for a place in the starting line-up.
As is often the case with clubs outside of the traditional top six, their best players are often targeted by the best clubs in the country, and with Leicester, it is no different. For example, N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater all departed the King Power Stadium within two years of their Premier League victory.
Now, Chilwell has been linked with a number of top sides, both in England and abroad. Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have all been in pursuit at one point or another, whilst even La Liga sides Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have had their eyes on the full-back.
Clearly, he has plenty of talent – it remains to be seen where the future takes him.
The academy product is something of a nearly-man given he missed the 2016 title victory and England’s 2018 World Cup campaign, but there seems little doubt that he will get the success his talent deserves in the years to come.