The speculation as to whether Youri Tielemans would sign permanently for Leicester City started about 20 minutes into his loan debut for the club in February.
Drafted in at the eleventh hour, replacing an injured Nampalys Mendy against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, the Belgian produced an eye-catching display, providing the dynamism and creativity that had been absent from the Foxes midfield all season.
Many more performances of this standard were to come from Tielemans, as he established himself as an indispensable cog in the Leicester City machine in the second half of the 2018/19 campaign.
So impressive were the 22-year-old's abilities, few Leicester fans believed that the club had any chance of making the midfielder's move permanent.
Manchester United were amongst his suitors, while Spurs, suitably impressed by Tielemans on his debut, were also circling.
And yet, after a painstakingly long transfer saga, it was revealed on 8 July that Brendan Rodgers had done the unthinkable. He'd somehow got Tielemans to sign and for only £40m? Woah.
Manchester United, the supposed biggest club in the world, are still yet to sort out their midfield crisis, while plucky Leicester City have snagged one of the best, young box-to-box players in world football, from right under their noses.
But what makes Tielemans such a shrewd signing? Many things. Crucially though, the Belgian will act as a facilitator to Leicester's other stars allowing them to optimise their own abilities.
For instance, the midfielder's three goals in just 12 appearances last campaign, suggests that he is the ideal man to relieve some of the goal-scoring pressure, currently exerted onto Jamie Vardy.
Nobody other than Vardy hit double figures for the Foxes last season, and although the recruitment of Ayoze Pérez may change this, Tielemans will surely be expected to continue his contributions as well.
Knowing that goals are coming from other members of the squad will hopefully allow Vardy to relax in front in goal, and covert more of the 17 big chances that he squandered this season, his worst record since 2015/16.
We sold Danny Drinkwater for £34m and bought Youri Tielemans for £35m. Unreal business.— ً (@Icfcsam) July 21, 2019
Tielemans' arrival should also be greeted with enthusiasm by James Maddison, who spent the first half of the last Premier League season acted as the Foxes sole creator.
Lumbered with the no-thrills defensive midfield pairing of Wilfred Ndidi and Mendy for the majority of the campaign, Maddison was expected to instigate the vast majority of Leicester's play in the final third.
Though he often performed this task admirably, especially considering it was his first year in the top-flight, it is no coincidence that the England Under-21 international's form picked up considerably when playing with Tielemans in a more attacking midfield three.
Tielemans' incisive passing and driving runs were rewarded with four assists last season and also lifted the creative workload from Maddison, leaving him free to express himself and drift in between the lines of the opposition.
Leicester City: How the Foxes are Set to Defy the Odds Again & Break into the Top 4 Next Season @ https://t.co/SyS39hONmm— Leicester Pro (@LeicesterPro) July 20, 2019
Tielemans' influence on the pitch will not only be felt centrally. The Foxes full-backs Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira will benefit from the midfielder's long passing abilities.
A trademark of Tielemans time at the King Power Stadium so far has been the showcasing of his cross-field passing. Switching the play quickly is a vital part of Rodgers' system, where overloads in the wide areas are pivotal to the team's attacking threat.
A common complaint from Claude Puel's time at the helm of the Foxes was the midfield's turgidly slow passing style. Tielemans' arrival last season put an end to that, as he has the ability to swiftly more the ball to the flanks, providing ideal opportunities for the attack-minded Chilwell and Ricardo to advance up the pitch.
Brendan Rodgers:— Leicester Xtra (@LeicesterXtra) July 22, 2019
“Youri (Tielemans) wasn’t waiting on which team would give him the most money. He was waiting on which team would offer him the best possible opportunity of playing, and playing in a style that suits his many qualities. Thankfully he chose us.” pic.twitter.com/DqXNhnW6cc
So there it is. That's why Youri Tielemans is the best value signing of the transfer window so far.
Leicester are not only getting an exceptionally gifted footballer, with sky-high resale value, but also a player who can improve the rest of the squad's game as well.
Tielemans fits Brendan Rodger's system perfectly, a credit to the Foxes' already revered scouting team. With the top six looking open to an upstart outsider, this season could be very, very interesting at the King Power Stadium.
Source : 90min