Leicester have reportedly broken their transfer record for the second time in five days after signing Nigeria international strikerAhmed Musa from CSKA Moscow for a fee thought to be in the region of £16m.
A centre-forward who is also comfortable on the left of an attacking three, Musa follows £13m acquisition Nampalys Mendys into the King Power Stadium, but what implications does his arrival have for the Foxes’ 25/1-rated bid to retain the Premier League title?
Among the potential consequences are the three envisaged below…
The embracing of 4-3-3
Gary Lineker was deriding Roy Hodgson’s use of 4-4-2 as something out of the dark ages a mere three years ago, evidently unaware of how well it was suiting Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.
Amusingly, the same formation underpinned much of Leicester’s 2015/16 title charge, with Shinji Okazaki supporting Jamie Vardy ahead of Ngolo Kante and Danny Drinkwater in central midfield, Riyad Mahrez on the right side and Marc Albrighton on the left.
Musa’s arrival offers Claudio Ranieri the option of adding a fearsome 4-3-3 to the Foxes’ tactical armoury with Kante, Drinkwater and Mendys supporting a free-interchanging front line of Vardy, Mahrez and the Nigerian.
The marginalisation of Okazaki
It was hard to not love the game-as-you-like Bundesliga import’s elbow grease addiction last term, but goal scoring did not prove to be his forte.
Leonardo Ulloa outgunned him in the league last season despite getting a quarter of his starts and less than half as many minutes across the campaign.
Should the Foxes keep hold of their two most-lauded attackers, his status is most likely to suffer.
The elimination of complacency
Arguably the most important consequence of Musa’s arrival for a sizeable fee is the effect it will have in motivating last season’s title-winning forward line.
With Vardy undisputed king of the castle at number nine, having finally arrived at the top level after years of graft, it might have been easy for him to level out, as journeymen like Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert did after their Premier League Indian-summers.
Instead, the Nigerian, who has more international caps, league winner’s medals and Champions League experience than the England man despite being six years his junior, has arrived to drive his new teammate to the next level