This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
On Tuesday afternoon, Leicester sealed a landmark record transfer.
After a successful loan spell at the club throughout the second half of the 2018/19 term, Youri Tielemans put pen to paper on a permanent contract with the club.
The fee was £40m as the Belgian maestro became the most expensive signing in their history.
Initially joining them on a temporary deal over the winter, he took to the Premier League like a duck to water. He shone under Claude Puel before becoming even better under Brendan Rodgers as he revitalised the Leicester side, helping them to eventually finish five points behind Wolves.
It was a superb end to the season for the Foxes who drew with Chelsea and also beat Arsenal.
His vision was exemplary, completing 1.2 key passes per game, per WhoScored, but it was his ability to play the ball from deep that was particularly effective for the Midlands outfit.
During his first stint with the club he played 3.4 long balls per match, adding to the 2.8 he played in Ligue 1 for Monaco during the same campaign.
It was a tally that beat one of the best creative outlets James Maddison, a player who created 100 chances over the course of last season.
And it’s the regularity at which he plays these long balls which has the potential to be even more game-changing for a certain Jamie Vardy next term.
After Rodgers arrived the forward looked revitalised, scoring nine in the ten games he played under the Northern Irishman.
Tielemans was particularly good during this period, ending the term with four-goal involvements in his last seven outings.
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But if he can continue to play long balls as he managed last term, it could free up Vardy who loves to get in behind and relishes situations where he can run onto a ball over the top.
In one game last term, Tielemans played seven long balls against Newcastle. He then managed a further six against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.
The 22-year-old was first class after arriving and now that he’s signed permanently, the Leicester attack could become even better.
Vardy should be ecstatic that Rodgers has been able to bring a player with his vision back to the King Power.