Leicester City have been linked with a summer move for Empoli midfielder Samuele Ricci after the 19-year-old impressed throughout the 2020/21 campaign.
What’s the story?
According to Italian outlet La Nazione, the Foxes have been negotiating with the teenager’s representatives for some time, and the newly-promoted side have slapped a £13m price tag on their prized asset.
The report also claims that fellow Premier League side Arsenal are interested in acquiring the prodigy’s signature ahead of the upcoming transfer window, but Brendan Rodgers’ charges appear to be in pole position to get him.
The new Ndidi
Leicester are believed to be willing to pay the required fee to bring Ricci to the King Power Stadium, meaning the £8.1m-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) is set to bolster the FA Cup holders’ ranks for next season.
The Midlands outfit narrowly missed out on a Champions League qualification spot in the recently concluded campaign, arguably due to the lack of strength in depth available to Rodgers compared to Leicester’s more affluent rivals.
Operating at the base of midfield, Ricci excelled for Empoli as they clinched the Serie B title, making 33 league appearances, scoring twice and providing four assists along the way.
His arrival would offer 2016 Premier League champions a plethora of options in the centre of the park as they look to fight on multiple fronts next season.
Wilfried Ndidi is the virtually ever-present rock perfectly placed in front of the defensive unit when fit, but injuries restricted the Nigeria international’s appearances in 2020/21.
And while Nampalys Mendy proved to be an adequate backup in the 24-year-old’s absence, it left Rodgers with little option in terms of making tactical tweaks and changes, either from week to week or during games.
With Europa League football set to grace the King Power once again, multiple options in each position will be required for Leicester, and Ricci’s signing could provide them with the perfect balance.
Ndidi is set to imminently enter his prime years, and the experienced defensive midfielder should be the ideal tutor to the youthful Italian.
Leicester have a habit of selling their most valuable assets for astronomical profit, and with Ndidi continuously linked with a move away, the Foxes could acquire his replacement well in advance, making any possible transition to life after the African star seamless.