Recall, Five years ago when Kelechi Iheanacho starred for Manu Garba led-Nigeria’s U17 national Golden Eagles team he helped win the 2013 World Cup a lot of European Clubs were after the young man.
Several European clubs took notice of Iheanacho. Arsenal, Manchester City, and Porto were all credited with an interest in signing the young attacking mid.
City finally secured the youngster’s signature when he was still under 18.
After some stellar performances in the 2015/16 pre-season, he was promoted to the senior squad.
The young Nigerian had few opportunities, making mostly substitute appearances.
Regardless he ended the season with eight Premier League goals and the best goals-per-minute ratio of any player: 1/94.
If you count added time he was good for a goal per game. Iheanacho ended the season as City’s third-highest scorer with 14 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions and nominated for the FIFA Golden Boy award.
It should have been smooth sailing from there. Instead, his career hit the rocks. It all began with City appointing Pep Guardiola. Speculation followed.
Would the Catalan trust Iheanacho enough to make him part of his new project. Or would he cast him aside for more suitable options?
At first, Pep appeared to keep faith with the inherited youngster. Given his performance the previous season it only seemed fair to give the Iheanacho a chance either to lead the lines or prove a reliable deputy for Sergio Aguero.
Guardiola kept him in the squad but was soon leaving him on the bench regularly. Even in matches where Aguero could not play. The handwriting was on the wall.
In a bit role, the former U17 World Cup winner managed 5 goals and two assists. Then Gabriel Jesus joined City from Palmeiras in January 2017. The young Brazilian was often chosen before Aguero.
It was obvious who the manager preferred. For Iheanacho it was time to go.
The 21-year-old decamped for Leicester in a £25 million move.
Leaving City for the 2015 Premier League champions seemed an ideal situation. The Foxes clubhouses weren’t wall-to-wall superstars. Given his quality, it was felt he could command a place in the starting XI.
Again, the plan didn’t come together. Five months into his Leicester career, Iheanacho has made only two Premier League starts and seven substitute appearances, with another four caps in cup action.
He has scored four goals. This is simply not good enough for a player with such immense talent and promise.
His recent brace against Fleetwood Town secured progress to the FA Cup fourth round. The performance demonstrated his ability.
That he had a one-second goal disallowed by VAR and the next awarded spoke to his perseverance.
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