Friday, October 7, 2022

Leicester City Face Stumbling Block In Pursuit Of Serie A Defender: Should Rodgers Give Up On Him?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent print edition, Il Tempo has stated that Leicester City are facing a big stumbling block in pursuit of AS Roma defender Roger Ibañez, who is playing on loan from Atalanta, during this summer transfer window. It is believed that the Foxes have failed with their bid worth ‘no less than €30m’ as the Brazilian centre-half is ‘very happy’ with his life at the Italian capital (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness).

Ibanez’s Recent Rise In Italian Football

The Cenela-born talent joined Roma on loan back in January and has since made 12 appearances for them, but is still waiting to score or assist his first goal for the Italian outfit. The 21-year-old has caught the eye with his performances at the heart of Paulo Fonseca’s midfield as he averaged 1.2 tackles, 2.0 interceptions and 2.2 clearances per game in the 2019-20 Serie A campaign.

Ibanez distributed the ball accurately when playing his way out from the back after completing 88.8% of his attempted passes in the Italian top-flight (stats via whoscored). Hence, he would have been an ideal fit for Brendan Rodgers’ style of possession-oriented football at the King Power Stadium. However, his lack of experience at the highest level makes him a risky signing for the Foxes ahead of the transfer deadline next month.

Leicester City face big stumbling block in pursuit of Ibanez who is in action in the picture
Sevilla’s Spanish forward Munir El Haddadi (BOTTOM) vies with AS Roma’s Brazilian defender Roger Ibanez during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 football match between Sevilla FC and AS Roma at the MSV Arena on August 6, 2020, in Duisburg. (Photo by FRIEDEMANN VOGEL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

What Does The Brazilian Defender Bring To The Table?

Standing at 1.86m, Ibanez can be an intimidating presence inside his penalty area and is not afraid to clear his lines when being bombarded by crosses from the opposition. He has also proven his worth as a capable tackler and is usually quite tidy with his passing from the back.

At 21, the Brazilian prospect is already establishing himself as an important member of Paulo Fonseca’s squad, but it remains to be seen whether he can take his game to another level during this campaign.

Should The Foxes Give Up On Him This Summer?

Brendan Rodgers can benefit from adding another young defender to his squad as he has currently got Filip Benković out of action because of injury. Plus, Jonny Evans has struggled to remain fit over the past few weeks, which has increased Leicester’s need for a new centre-back.

Ibanez would have been a shrewd acquisition for them this summer, but it seems like the Foxes have no choice but to give up on him for now as he is enjoying his time at the Stadio Olimpico. Rodgers should consider going after some of his other targets heading into the final phase of this ongoing transfer window if he wants a strong squad capable of sustaining a top-four challenge in the Premier League this season.

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