Why Leicester City Should Make Eldin Jakupovic Their Second Signing From Hull City
Last week, BBC Sport reported that Premier League outfit Leicester City were in advanced negotiations to sign goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, from recently relegated club Hull City. The report claimed that a fee of £2million was close to being agreed upon by the two parties.
However, Hull Daily Mail claims that the Tigers are not willing to let go of their shot-stopper on the cheap and will only sell him for the right price which they believe is much higher than the £2million that has been touted. The report also states that there has been interest in the 32-year old from Watford FC and fellow relegated side Sunderland, complicating the matters for Leicester City.
The Foxes had a poor season last time around after surprising everyone by winning the Premier League in the 2015-16 season. For large phases of the season, it looked like they would face relegation, until a managerial change in February sparked a surprise turnaround, as caretaker boss Craig Shakespeare masterminded a great escape to lead Leicester to a 12th placed finish in the table.
After having made Shakespeare’s managerial appointment a permanent one, the Foxes have gone about their business to strengthen the squad and have captured defender Harry Maguire from Hull City in a £17million deal. And now they are set to raid the Tigers once again for the services of Jakupovic.
The 32-year old was hardly used in the first half of the season, with then manager Mike Phelan putting his faith in last summer’s signing David Marshall. But after a string of poor results and the appointment of Marco Silva as the new head coach in January, Jakupovic was made the preferred choice between the sticks for the Tigers.
The one-time capped Switzerland international put in a series of heroic displays in the goal for Hull as they tried to stave off the drop from the top division, but he could not help them avoid it. His penalty save in a goalless draw against Southampton was one of the standout moments in a season that turned out to be a disappointing one for the Hull City faithful.
In the end, Jakupovic finished the season with 5 clean sheets from 22 Premier League appearances, in which he conceded 36 goals. Jakupovic’s tally of 2.95 average saves per game in the league was the third-highest among the keepers who had made more than 20 appearances, only behind Jordan Pickford (Sunderland) and Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City).
The 32-year old also saved 2 penalties over the course of the season out of the 6 that he faced. No keeper in the English top flight managed more than 2 penalty saves last campaign, with Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton) and Artur Boruc (Bournemouth) all pulling off 2 stops each.
So, it is not really a surprise to see peaked interests from clubs in getting Jakupovic’s services. Leicester have one of the best custodians in the league in Kasper Schmeichel. The Danish international was supposedly a transfer target for several Premier League clubs, but with the Foxes having slapped a £50million price tag on him, it looks like he will be staying put at the King Power Stadium.
However, the same cannot be said about the second choice stopper Ron-Robert Zieler. The German arrived last summer, but has hardly been in the playing XI, thanks to Schmeichel’s imperious form between the sticks. As a result, Zieler is said to have grown frustrated and may well look to leave the club in the summer, creating a vacancy in the squad for a new No.2.
Jakupovic has shown that he can be a more than able option to have in the squad and can be an excellent deputy to Schmeichel. He has one year left on his existing deal with Hull, which also has an option for the club to extend it by two more years. This puts the Tigers in a strong position in any potential negotiations. However, a bid slightly higher than the £2million mark that has been quoted should be enough to convince Hull into a sale and Leicester should act quickly to get the deal done.
**Stats taken from Squawka.com