Reuters/JUAN CARLOS ULATE
Last summer he was linked to both Manchester City and Arsenal, with talk of £25m bids knocked back from West Bromwich Albion. Twelve months later and Jonny Evans has left the Baggies for a fraction of that price, joining up with Leicester City in a £3.5m deal.
Afforded the captain’s armband at the Baggies, Evans excelled in his three seasons in the Black Country, netting five times across 96 appearances. With success across his career for both club and country, this deal represents a coup for Foxes.
‘A winner and a leader’
With ten major trophies, including three Premier League titles with Manchester United, Evans is the second most decorated player in Northern Irish football history. Manager Claude Puel expressed his delight at the deal upon its completion.
“Jonny is a player of great experience in the Premier League and to have him as part of our squad is fantastic news,” Puel told reporters after the deal was completed. “He knows exactly what it takes. He will bring a great deal to our squad.”
Evans, whose younger brother Corry plays for Blackburn Rovers, has also starred at international level in recent years. He played a massive role in the nation’s qualification for the 2016 European Championships, their first major tournament in three decades, and also had an impressive campaign as the country reached the playoffs for this summer’s World Cup.
The 30-year-old has a languid style of play and likes to carry the ball out from the defence into the midfield. He has matured in recent years and offers a varied skill set. Technically gifted for a central defender and with an excellent reading of the game, he arguably mirrors his game on Rio Ferdinand, whom he played alongside at Old Trafford.
However, Evans can be exposed when isolated against powerful attackers. He can be suspect in the air and can often be found wanting when needing to tackle in one-on-one situations. However, unlike earlier in his career, he does offer an offensive threat both from set pieces and even from outside the box, an unusual trait for a central defender.
The Northern Irishman is the second arrival of the summer at the King Power Stadium, following the signing of full back Ricardo Pereira from FC Porto. The 24-year-old excelled in his club’s run to the Portuguese title last season and looks to go straight into the first-team at Leicester, in place of Danny Simpson.
Despite doubts over the future of Riyad Mahrez, the Foxes possess a squad with increasing strength in depth and should the Algerian leave, there would be significant funds to reinvest in the squad.
With Vicente Iborra and Wilfred Ndidi now running the central midfield and January arrival Fousseni Diabate looking exciting on the wing, Leicester have shown their scouting and recruitment is impressive and innovative. This has been another excellent start to the transfer window and with more canny additions, this side could challenge the league’s established top six again.
Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss Group C in Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport’s daily World Cup podcast.
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