Soyuncu – the unheralded star of Leicester’s good start
Leicester’s good summer seemed to come undone when Harry Maguire was sold, but Caglar Soyuncu has stepped up to the plate.
Maguire, in many ways, was the perfect central defender to play in a Brendan Rodgers’ side – of course, he can defend but he also possesses that calmness and elegance on the ball that gives him the ability to start attacks from nothing.
So when the time came for him to depart the club for Manchester United, Rodgers will have surely been disappointed.
It was inevitable he would leave – United and Manchester City both relentlessly pursued the England international all summer, which handed Leicester the strong hand they needed for negotiations.
£80million was eventually what they wrangled out of United, but despite the huge riches that came with the transfer, there was not enough time to source and buy a replacement for reasonable money.
Therefore, despite boasting a striker of Jamie Vardy’s calibre, who would be supplied by James Maddison and Youri Tielemans among others, they looked light at the back.
It's Çağlar's world and we're just living in it. pic.twitter.com/flWdArc07R
— Leicester City (@LCFC) September 1, 2019
Jonny Evans was regarded as the clear first choice but other options weren’t jumping off the page.
Wes Morgan is another year older and despite the huge gratitude from Leicester fans after captaining them to the title three years ago, he is probably no longer good enough to play a full season.
With Filip Benkovic yet to prove himself to Rodgers, despite a relatively successful loan stint at Celtic, Soyuncu was the only option.
The £19million acquisition from Freiburg only played six times in the Premier League last season and cannot have exactly inspired too many Leicester fans.
Yet this season he has looked very solid in the Foxes backline – he has shown he is composed on the ball, good in the air, physically strong, and a good passer.
Obviously, he has not yet reached the heights of Maguire and there will be questions over whether he ever will.
But for now, Leicester look like they have a ready-made replacement for the 26-year-old, and he cost them nothing this summer.
Soyuncu also has age on his side – he is only 23 yet has decent levels of experience having made more than 100 career appearances in domestic football, as well as winning 24 caps for the Turkey national side.
“I think you sense the supporters are really enjoying watching him play. He does a couple of wee maverick things that makes you wonder sometimes, but he is very young, you can see he is aggressive, attacks the ball well,” he said after they beat Bournemouth 3-1 on Saturday.
Clearly, Rodgers feels there is an improvement to be made, but there is no doubt they could have unearthed a potential gem.