By Lucas Pereira, FootballPredictions.NET, 11:44 04/10/2020
After winning their first English league title in the 2015/16 season, the club has continued to grow on and off the field and are preparing to embark on their fifth European campaign in the 2020/21 season.
Whilst the title of being The Foxes’ best player is a subjective matter, striker Jamie Vardy is considered by many to be the cream of the current crop at the King Power Stadium. Vardy is the club’s top scorer of the past few years and has been named in the Premier League team of the year on two separate occasions.
Judging player quality and who is the best Leicester player can be done by analysing a series of factors, such as player value, personal awards, goals and appearances.
The prolific Jamie Vardy - plucked from non-league for £1million
Former England international Jamie Vardy was signed by The Foxes for just over £1million from freshly promoted to the Football League Fleetwood Town in the summer of 2012. Since then the forward has scored 132 goals in 311 appearances for the club.
No other Leicester player has scored more in the last 20 years and only three have played more times for the club than the 33-year-old Yorkshireman. This includes 23 goals during the 2019/20 season as Vardy finished as Premier League top scorer for the first time.
This was enough to land Vardy The Foxes’ Player of the Season award for the first time. He was also named in the PFA Team of the Season for the second time in his career, having previously been included in 2016.
After the title win in 2016, Vardy was nominated for a number of accolades including the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Best Men’s Player award. He was also named the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year the same season.
During the title-winning 2015/16 campaign, the former Halifax Town striker broke the Premier League record for most consecutive matches scored in as he found the net in 11 straight matches to break the previous record of ten by Ruud van Nistelrooy.
This form earned Vardy his first England call up and he went on to score seven times in 26 appearances for the Three Lions before he announced his retirement from international football after the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Long-serving keeper Kasper Schmeichel can stake a claim
Only one Leicester player made more appearances than Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during the 2019/20 season, as Jonny Evans played 46 times compared to Schmeichel’s 44. Since 2000, however, no one has played more for The Foxes as the Dane has played 379 matches in his nine years at the King Power.
The former Manchester City man joined the club in 2011 for £1.5million from Leeds United when Leicester were still in the Championship. He was part of the side that won the league title in 2016 and won his second Leicester City player of the season award a year later.
He was also nominated for the FIFA Best Goalkeeper award at the end of 2016 for his performances for both club and country.
Is a player’s market value an indication of their quality?
Whilst both Jamie Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel were signed for considerably small fees in today’s transfer market, not all of Leicester’s signings have been bargains.
The club’s record signing Youri Tielemans made his loan from AS Monaco permanent for £40.5million in the summer of 2019. He remains in the club’s top five most valuable players at £39.6million, with fellow attacking midfielder James Maddison coming out on top at £49.5million.
Both Islam Slimani and Adrien Silva are amongst The Foxes’ five most expensive signings despite failing to leave much of a mark in the East Midlands.
Second most valuable departure Riyad Mahrez did warrant his £61million fee when he moved to Manchester City in 2019. The Algerian winger won the PFA Player of the Year in 2016 and was nominated for the Balon d’Or the same year.