It isn’t often that news from Leicester City and the King Power Stadium catches supporters off-guard.
Indeed, rumours of a new signing or indeed of an extended deal usually begin developing days or even weeks before anything is usually confirmed by the club.
That is not quite exactly what happened on Thursday, however, with Danny Ward having penned a new contract at the club – and quite a lengthy one at that, with the former Liverpool stopper now tied down until the summer of 2025.
Whilst there was a real lack of any fanfare for Ward’s new deal, it was a shrewd move from Brendan Rodgers, and one which could allude to the Welshman being the natural successor to the now 34-year-old Kasper Schmeichel.
Despite having only appeared on 14 appearances for the Foxes since his 2018 arrival under Claude Puel, Ward has performed very well. In those limited appearances, he has racked up eight clean sheets, whilst only conceding eight goals in total throughout those matches.
His best performance arguably came in his first season at the club as he saved three penalties in a shootout victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carabao Cup.
Even current Leicester teammate Marc Albrighton is fully aware of Ward’s abilities despite his limited game time, labelling him as “incredible” following the aforementioned win against Wolves.
Considering that ability, it certainly made sense to keep Ward at the club as a hugely competent backup to regular number one Schmeichel.
Whilst the Dane has expressed no intention of stepping away at any point yet, Ward – who is seven years his junior – could definitely be his replacement should the inevitable moment come that the long-serving Schmeichel retires.
The 27-year-old’s new deal could be the first steps in preparation for the long-term future and is an extremely shrewd move from Leicester despite catching most off-guard.