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Patson Daka- Everything you need and how he will fit into Brendan Rodgers’ side

Patson Daka- Everything you need and how he will fit into Brendan Rodgers’ side

Leicester City announced the signing of Patson Daka earlier today, confirming that the Zambian international had signed a five-year deal at the King Power stadium.

The RB Salzburg player had been on the radar of Arsenal and Liverpool this summer according to reports, but it was Leicester City that moved fastest to secure the youngster’s signature.

But who is Daka, where does he play, and how will he fit into Brendan Rodgers’ side?

Background on Daka

Daka is just 22-years-old but has already played four seasons in the Austrian Bundesliga with Red Bull Salzburg. The youngster took up the mantle left by Erling Haaland in January 2020, when the Norwegian left for Borussia Dortmund. Daka returned the faith shown in him, netting 24 times in 31 Austrian Bundesliga appearances, good enough for second in the golden boot charts.

The new Foxes signing went one better in 2020-21, finishing the campaign on 27 goals from just 28 appearances (according to Transfermarkt). Although his impact has not been as noticeable as Haaland’s was to an outsider, Daka has continued to fire in the goals at an impressive rate, with his 72 minutes per goal far better than any offering in England’s top flight this season (which is led by Gareth Bale with a goal every 99 minutes).

Now moving to England for around 23 million pounds, Daka will be looking to make his mark in the toughest league in the world.

A Vardy Replacement? How does Daka play?

The Zambian forward plays predominantly through the middle, with all of his appearances for Salzburg coming in that position this season. However, he is also adept at playing on either flank, as he did on occasion in 2019/20. For the most part, however, Daka is most comfortable through the middle, spearheading an attack.

There is one stylistic tweak that will be needed from the new signing, however. At Salzburg, much of his success came in a formation with two strikers. His striking partner (Mergim Berisha for the most part) tended to drop slightly deeper, drawing defenders out of position and allowing Daka to run in behind.

Leicester City, on the other hand, tended to play in a 3-4-2-1 or 4-2-3-1 system with a lone striker for much of the season. They did, however, switch to a 3-4-1-2 in order to accommodate both Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho towards the end of the season.

It seems likely, therefore, that Daka may have to get used to ploughing a lone furrow for the Foxes, something that certainly will take some time to adjust to.

Beyond that, there is a lot to like about Brendan Rodgers’ latest acquisition. Jamie Vardy comparisons are easily reached but there is substance behind them; both players are blessed with electric pace, are able to finish with both feet, and work best when given space to run in behind defences.

Patson Daka- Everything you need and how he will fit into Brendan Rodgers’ side

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 14: Jamie Vardy of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Sheffield United at The King Power Stadium on March 14, 2021 in Leicester, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

Daka often uses his brilliant movement to create space for a teammate or to run in behind in order to receive the ball. Despite this, he may have to master the art of timing his runs, being caught offside almost once per game in 2020/21 (as per FB,ref).

For comparison, Vardy gets flagged offside just over once per game, while Timo Werner, who seems perennially offside, is penalised for it only just less frequently than Daka.

The Zambian is also keen to win the ball back quickly, as shown by his tendency to commit fouls last season (over 1.5 per game on average). This is twice as many as Jamie Vardy, and is a rate that would have been good enough for second-most amongst Premier League forwards last term, behind only Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.

How will he fit in at Leicester City?

The most obvious answer to this is that Daka has been brought in as a premature replacement for Jamie Vardy, who is now 34-years-old. With Iheanacho also finishing the season in good form, it is possible that Rodgers could retain a formation with two strikers, seeing Daka and Vardy rotate across the season.

Equally, the new Leicester City player could be deployed on either of the wide berths, with Harvey Barnes recovering from injury and Ayoze Perez and Marc Albrighton the only other recognised wide options. However, if Leicester retain their wing-back system, this seems unlikely, unless Daka were to operate in one of the positions behind the striker.

Alternatively, Daka could be given the 2021-22 season to get up to speed with the division, mainly being used in the Europa League and domestic competitions. It sounds unglamorous, and would surely deflate much of the excitement around the youngster, but having seen the plight of Timo Werner and Nicolas Pepe in recent seasons, it could be a viable strategy.

The Case for FPL

It is difficult to make a case for including Daka in your fantasy teams from the beginning of the season, with the striker likely needing some time to get up to speed. Moreover, with Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho both fully fit and raring to go, his position at the tip of Leicester’s attack seems far from secure.

One option could be that Daka is fielded in a wide-berth whilst he adjusts to the pace of the division, although again this makes it hard to make a case for including him for Leicester’s opening fixtures, with the player classed as a forward in the game.

One option to keep an eye on, however, could be his availability over January. The Premier League’s notoriously vicious winter schedule has been further complicated this year by the addition of the African Cup of Nations, which will see the likes of Mohammed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sadio Mane all miss a chunk of the season.

Another player set to be away is team-mate Iheanacho, whose Nigeria side have qualified for the tournament. Zambia, on the other hand, failed to qualify.

With Jamie Vardy surely unable to play every game in this period, and Iheanacho away, it could well be the perfect time to draft in Daka to strengthen your side.

Final thoughts:

At 23 million pounds, Leicester appear to have found another gem, although how his Austrian Bundesliga form translates to the Premier League remains to be seen. In the short term, Daka can be a valuable asset to their armoury and offers a capable backup to Vardy, meaning that the veterans’ minutes can be managed more sensibly.

In the longer term, the stylistic similarities between the Zambian and Vardy could see Daka supplant Vardy at the head of Leicester’s attack for years to come.

Read more:

Arsenal-linked Patson Daka allowed to leave Salzburg in summer

RB Salzburg’s Patson Daka ‘very keen’ on Liverpool switch

This article was edited by Tom Canton.

Leicester betting odds, next game:

Brighton vs Leicester odds: result, both teams to score, correct score & goalscorers

Brighton vs Leicester Full time result
Brighton vs Leicester Result/Both teams score Yes No
Brighton 9/2 10/3
Leicester 9/2
Draw 10/3 8/1
Brighton vs Leicester Correct Score
Brighton vs Leicester Goalscorers First Last Anytime
Jamie Vardy13/5 13/5 13/8
Neal Maupay11/4 11/4 15/8
Kelechi Iheanacho3/1 3/1 2/1
Patson Daka3/1 3/1 2/1
Aaron Connolly4/1 4/1 11/4

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