How big of a miss could Ben Chilwell be for Leicester?

Ben Chilwell of Leicester City (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Ben Chilwell of Leicester City (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

At a glance, the £70million valuation for Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell may seem steep but arguably one that’s totally deserved.

Leicester City are building a reputation of getting good value for their assets, which should ring true with Ben Chilwell as well. This is a good model for clubs to adopt inside the Premier League, so the “top four/six” don’t hoard all the talent.

For me, it would be sad to see Chilwell leave, after seeing him grow into the Foxes first team and gradually into the England setup. He’s become one of the best left-backs in world football – at only 23-years-old – giving him ample time to grow into an accomplished well-rounded fullback.

Unfortunately, if the rumoured move to Chelsea goes ahead, a section of the Foxes fan base will be pleased to see the back of him. Some believe he’s not been good enough during the second half of this season. Chilwell has struggled to replicate his performances from the start of the season and the superb previous campaign. But to argue that he’s not good enough is wrong, in my opinion.

Leicester City star statically outstanding

This is how Chilwell compares to every other premiership club’s “primary” LB. For successful tackles this season: the England player ranks 6th with 43, behind Jonny Castro – 79, Lucas Digne -65, Enda Stevens – 59, Andrew Robertson – 54, and Diego Rico – 46. Which is great for an “attacking fullback”.

Chilwell’s prowess in the air has never been understated: he’s the best LB in the league for per cent of aerial duals won; with 76.4 – second for ADW with 55, behind Digne – 78 – 68.4%. This is becoming an increasingly important role for fullbacks arriving at the back post.

Chilwell is very average for loose ball recoveries. Over the course of the season he’s recovered 196 loose balls, which places him seventh in the league. Behind Robertson – 279, Digne – 262,  Stevens – 255, Aaron Cresswell – 223, Ryan Bertrand – 204 and Rico – 218.

Although his anticipation isn’t at an elite level, given that Chilwell’s profile suits more of an attacking fullback, to be in the top 5-6/20 LB’s in the defensive category is impressive. These numbers are only taken from this season, in which he moulded himself into a more attacking threat.

In offence, Chilwell often receives the ball in the defensive third, which allows him to excel in his greatest attacking asset – carrying the ball – measured by “progressive distance”. Again, he’s the second best in the PL, only behind Robertson – but the two of them are in a league of their own.

Chilwell has carried the ball 5,049 yards, which is only beaten by Robertson with 5,339. Outside of those two, no other LB has managed to carry the ball 3,600 yards. In the entire league, the only fullback with more is Foxes-star Ricardo Pereira, with 5,867 yards.

For crosses, Chilwell ranks seventh with 86 so far this season. He’s behind Robertson, Digne, Stevens, Cresswell, Bertrand, and Rico. Although, crossing isn’t an attacking avenue that Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City favour, it’s more a progression through the centre, which involves fullbacks just not in the advanced areas of the pitch.

He’s completed 19 dribbles this season, which places him in fifth, behind Jonny, Stevens, Jetro Willems, and Jamal Lewis. Chilwell is rarely at the top of an individual metric, but he seems to be amongst the best for all the aforementioned skills – which is an asset in itself.

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All this in a season where the academy graduate has been considered a “disappointment” by many Leicester fans. If the Foxes do retain him or Chelsea buy him, either prospectively have a very talented LB on their books. I think the King Power side will realise how influential of a player they’ve lost if he goes, especially the doubters in the fan base.