Arsenal lost out on Wilfred Ndidi before and Leicester fear they will struggle to keep hold of midfielder

John Percy
Wilfred Ndidi scored a cracking goal against Stoke  - Rex Features

Wilfred Ndidi is Leicester’s best signing since N’Golo Kante and has already rejected the advances of Arsenal.

Yet there is already a fear that Leicester will face a struggle to keep the £15 million signing after another formidable performance in the Premier League. 

Ndidi is emerging as a crucial figure in the revival under Craig Shakespeare and added another brilliant goal to his collection against Stoke, further enhancing his growing reputation since arriving from Genk.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Stoke and Hamburg were both keen to sign the defensive midfielder this summer but Leicester’s determination to complete a deal in January enabled them to jump to the front of the queue.

After first scouting him nearly 18 months ago, Leicester began negotiations in the summer and Shakespeare admits that persistence proved vital in the pursuit.

Craig Shakespeare congratulates Jamie Vardy

“Our recruitment department take a real pat on the back for that. We did a lot of homework on him and I think we were one of the first clubs, if not the first, to show an interest in him,” he said.

“I think he, and his family and agent, remembered that so we were in the driving seat. When other clubs came in for him he remembered the way we went about it first. He had other options.

“From what you're seeing so far, we've got a good player on our hands.”

Known as ‘Teddy Bear’ during his time in Belgium, Ndidi has already earned comparisons with Patrick Vieira and appears made to measure in English football. He has only just turned 20 and it sadly seems inevitable that Leicester will face a struggle to keep him at the King Power Stadium.

His strike against Stoke, from 25 yards, was outrageous and set Leicester on the way to a fourth successive league victory under Shakespeare.

Leicester 1 - 0 Stoke (Wilfred Ndidi, 25 min)

Claudio Ranieri’s former assistant has now joined Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti and Guus Hiddink in winning his first four league games in charge and becomes the first British manager to achieve such a record.

Jamie Vardy added the gloss with an expertly taken volley and Leicester can move further away from the bottom three with a win over seemingly doomed Sunderland on Tuesday night.

Stoke remain in ninth place but there is a sense that major changes are expected this summer under manager Mark Hughes.

He sorely needs to inject some life into an unbalanced, aging squad and will offload a number of fringe players to reinvent his team.

Mark Hughes needs to inject some life into an unbalanced, aging squad

They have not scored in their last four away games ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Burnley but skipper Ryan Shawcross insists their season could still be a success.

“If we finish in the top ten then a lot of people might not see that as a great achievement, but for a club of our size to do that in four consecutive years it definitely would be,” he said.

“Some people underestimate how well we’ve done over the last couple of years and how well the gaffer has done. We’ve been ninth three years in a row and we want to do better this time. It’s still there to be done.”

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