Youri Tielemans Confirms Leicester City Departure, So What Next?

Youri Tielemans Confirms Leicester City Departure, So What Next?

Youri Tielemans won’t be a Leicester City player for much longer. The 2021 FA Cup final hero’s contract expires this summer and the Belgian has confirmed his exit on social media. Speaking on Instagram, Tielemans said “After four and a half special years and with a lot of gratitude I’m bidding farewell to this incredible club.” His departure comes on the back of the Foxes being relegated to the Championship after finishing 18th in the Premier League.

Tielemans has long been linked with a move away. The creative fulcrum of Leicester during the largely-successful Brendan Rodgers era, now the 26-year-old will join his former head coach on the outside looking in. Despite the fact this season was his poorest in a Leicester shirt since signing for the club, there will be no shortage of suitors for Tielemans.

Those suitors may not be as glamorous as they once were. Tielemans was seen by many as downing tools while his team circled the Premier League drain this season. His goal against Chelsea won his team the FA Cup two years ago while his creative contributions have seen Leicester play European football in recent seasons. With Tielemans at the forefront, Leicester were within a momentum-busting pandemic-enforced break of Champions League qualification just a few short years ago.

Still, there are clubs in the market for a quality midfielder this summer. Liverpool’s soft centre has necessitated Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being allowed to leave while Arthur’s underwhelming loan deal has ended. You could imagine manager Jurgen Klopp harbouring at least a passing interest in Tielemans. 

Manchester United have been credited with an interest in the past, but the Red Devils are believed to be closer on a deal for Chelsea’s Mason Mount. Arsenal are another club with a long-held interest but they are looking in the direction of another Stamford Bridge midfielder, Mateo Kovacic. While at one time Tielemans would have caused a scramble for his services, he can no longer have his pick of the top sides.

But is he still worth pursuing for someone, either in the Premier League or further afield? If he can hit the levels he showed before this season then definitely. At 26 years of age, he remains in his prime physically. A relegated team is not the best place to showcase what you can do. Perhaps a team with the lofty ambitions Leicester used to have, to be able to qualify for Europe and excel in the cups.

This won’t be what Tielemans wants of course. Many have interpreted his waning efforts at the King Power Stadium as the result of his desire to play for a title-chasing side. But that same lack of effort could have temporarily blocked his path. However, there are still clubs where his mix of goals, assists and progressive passing could be vital. Newcastle United are apparently more interested in his teammate, James Maddison, but could be swayed perhaps. Tottenham Hotspur need a rebuild. Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea will surely need to replace at least one of Kovacic, Mount and Ruben Loftus-Cheek if they all leave as expected. These clubs are either ambitiously growing in Newcastle’s case or fallen giants in Chelsea and Spurs, but they all provide a fine platform for Tielemans’ comeback story. 

Tielemans is a talented player available on the open market. He will certainly be snapped up by someone. What will be fascinating is which version of the player they get. The creative fulcrum that helped Leicester dare to dream for the first time since the title win? Or the listless, half-hearted midfield who looked like he wanted to be anywhere else? There’s a player in there, now let’s see if he appears next season.

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

Video Liverpool News Daily | Alexis Mac Allister latest, Youri Tielemans decides, Mason Mount terms agreed

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