Why Leicester City should move for Omar Elabdellaoui
According to the Daily Mail, Leicester City are among a host of Premier League clubs tracking Norwegian international right-back Omar Elabdellaoui, who currently plies his trade with Olympiacos in the Greek top-flight.
Celtic and Crystal Palace were both rebuffed by Olympiacos in their pursuit of the 27-year-old attacking full-back but with Elabdellaoui’s contract set to expire next summer, the Greek heavyweights almost seem resigned to losing him for free at the end of the ongoing season. (h/t Daily Mail)
As per the report, Elabdellaoui’s unresolved contract situation at Olympiacos has put a number of Spanish and German clubs on red alert but his status as a homegrown player in England means that a return to the Premier League is more likely, with Burnley, Bournemouth, Leicester City, Watford and Aston Villa are interested in securing his services.
The Norwegian, who joined Man City as a 16-year-old from Skeid in his homeland back in 2008, spent five years at the Etihad without making a single first-team appearance and had loan stints at Stromsgodset, Feyenoord and Eintracht Braunschweig before joining the latter permanently in 2013.
A brief stint in the Bundesliga paved the way for a move to Olympiacos in 2014 and Omar Elabdellauoi hasn’t looked back since then, going from strength to strength over the past five seasons and guiding the club to three domestic titles in the process.
The 41-cap Norwegian international made a brief return to English football as a loanee at Hull City during the second half of the 2016-17 season but a permanent move to the KCOM Stadium failed to materialize.
However, Elabdellaoui now looks destined for an extended return to the Premier League, with so many clubs weighing up a move for him in January or next summer.
The tricky right-back would be well within his rights to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with any club during the mid-season trading period, although a cut-price fee could be enough to prise him away from Greece.
To put things into perspective, Omar Elabdellaoui would be an ideal signing for any of the aforementioned clubs but Leicester City could bag a real coup if they manage to beat off competitions for his services.
The Foxes splashed the cash on Ayoze Perez to bolster their attack in the summer, while Dennis Praet joined compatriot Youri Tielemans, who was signed permanently from Monaco after excelling on loan in the second half of the previous campaign.
Leicester have already taken strides towards breaking the top-six lock with a fine start to the season under Brendan Rodgers but they should look to add more depth in the other departments as well.
To that end, right-back is certainly an area which is in need of some quality cover, with Ricardo Pereira the only recognised option in that position.
Leicester brought in James Justin from Luton Town but given that the youngster is still completely unproven at the highest level and is yet to gain the manager’s trust, a move for Elabdellaoui could make perfect sense.
Pereira has established himself as one of the best in the Premier League with his excellent all-round game but someone like Omar Elabdellaoui, who is also an explosive right-back, could provide Rodgers with some much-needed back-up.
A veteran of 137 appearances for Olympiacos, the 27-year-old has shouldered the leadership responsibilities for both club and country and his wealth of Champions League and Europa League experience should make him a valuable addition to Leicester’s ranks which is bursting with some top-quality young talent at the moment.
Add to that his ability to burst forward with pace and set up goals with accurate crosses and it is easy to see why a seasoned campaigner like him would go a long way towards making Leicester City a more formidable unit.
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The Norwegian would only be expected to play second-fiddle to Pereira even if a move does materialize but his arrival at the King Power Stadium is likely to be a breath of fresh air, nevertheless.
With that in mind, the Foxes should look to go all out in their pursuit of the powerful attacking full-back in January.