Leicester transfer exclusive: Foxes seriously interested in Ounahi

Azzedine Ounahi of Morocco (Photo by Youssef Loulidi/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Azzedine Ounahi of Morocco (Photo by Youssef Loulidi/Fantasista/Getty Images) /
Azzedine Ounahi of Morocco (Photo by Youssef Loulidi/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Azzedine Ounahi of Morocco (Photo by Youssef Loulidi/Fantasista/Getty Images) /

As the World Cup ends, Leicester City faces a return to Premier League action and then the January transfer window. With question marks over the future of stars such as Youri Tielemans, Leicester City may be on the lookout for replacements.

Who is Azzedine Ounahi?

Morocco won the hearts of many fans in their impressive run to the semi-finals. In the process, they beat European heavyweights Belgium, Spain and Portugal. Such a performance has led to some fans comparing their unlikely triumph to Leicester City’s title-winning campaign, despite Morocco falling short in the end.

Nevertheless, several Morocco players were impressive. One of the most impressive performers has been midfielder Azzedine Ounahi, who currently plys his trade in France for Angers. At just 22 years of age, he has risen to prominence for his classy performances in the engine room. Considering Ounahi was only playing in the French third tier just over a year ago suggests a case of egregious talent misidentification.

Ounahi’s skillset is apparent when considering his Fbref profile, indicating these recent performances are no surprise. As an ‘8’ he ranks in the top percentile for dribbles completed at 2.46 a game. On the ball, he is in the top 25 per cent for progressive passes and touches in the attacking penalty area. This is indicative of a supremely intelligent player who progresses the ball and gets into great positions.

Whilst his club team have been struggling, this shows that he has been able to maintain his individual performance despite the struggles around him. Subsequently, when put in a cohesive team such as Morocco, he has thrived.

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The lowdown on Leicester City’s interest

FoL were able to gain exclusive information from journalist Ekrem Konur, who stated that Leicester are “seriously interested” in the Moroccan maestro. Whilst Leicester Mercury also report that the Foxes are willing to “bid up to £39 million”, it seems highly unlikely a fee this high would be required. Konur states that Angers are yet to set a price, but he doesn’t “believe it will be too expensive”.

Considering the fact that the French outfit are in financial difficulty, and also bottom of Ligue 1, a fee of £20-25 million would likely be enough. Nevertheless, Konur also stated that “currently, Sevilla and Barcelona are also interested”. If this proves to be concrete, then Leicester City may face a bidding war. Fortunately for the Foxes, Ounahi “definitely wants to be in the Premier League”,  which may be a crucial ace when it comes to transfer negotiations.

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Whilst Ounahi passes both the eye-test as well as his underlying statistics, LCFC’s interest will be from long-term scouting rather than on the basis of one tournament. After the disastrous signing of Bartosz Kapustka, Leicester must be less naive when dealing with players who have had stellar tournaments.