Leicester favourites to sign City's Iheanacho for $45m

LONDON • English Premier League football club Leicester are hopeful of signing Kelechi Iheanacho from Manchester City in a deal worth around £25 million (S$44.6 million).

The 20-year-old Nigerian has other clubs pursuing him and City do not expect any transfer to be completed for another couple of weeks, but Leicester are at the front of the queue after putting together a financial package that would take their summer spending past £50 million.

Iheanacho is highly rated at City and has an impressive record, scoring 21 goals from 64 games despite more than half of those appearances being from the bench.

He started only five Premier League matches last season and that situation is unlikely to improve with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus competing to be City's first-choice centre forward.

Craig Shakespeare, Leicester's manager, has already signed Harry McGuire from Championship team Hull and the Sevilla midfielder Vicente Iborra for a combined total of £29 million.

Iheanacho would require an even bigger outlay but Leicester are in a position to be able to meet City's demands for a player who is seen as a natural scorer.

Meanwhile, Watford have joined Newcastle and West Ham in the race for City goalkeeper Joe Hart as they seek to simultaneously increase the number of home-grown players in their squad and land a marquee signing to help establish the club as serious players in the Premier League.

The Hornets are preparing for their third successive season in the top flight, having finished their last in 17th place after losing their final six matches.

Their current No. 1, Heurelho Gomes, has excelled since arriving at Vicarage Road three years ago, starting precisely 120 league games. He was named Player of the Season last year and came second in the voting last season, but at 36 he is coming towards the end of his career.

Hart is unwanted at City and is considering his options, with Championship side Aston Villa also keen to sign him.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2017, with the headline 'Leicester favourites to sign City's Iheanacho for $45m'. Print Edition | Subscribe