After what feels like an eternity watching the clubs around them make multiple deals Leicester City have made their first signing of the transfer window! The Foxes yesterday announced Timothy Castagne will be joining from Atalanta for £21.5M. Although his name translates to chestnut, it appears that it’s where he will fit it to Rodgers side that is proving a tough nut to crack for FPL managers.Embed from Getty Images
Let’s start by taking a look at the new boy, Castagne is an attack minded Belgian international who has joined from an Atalanta side that enjoyed letting their full backs get forward last season. Although he had to compete with the highly regarded Robin Gosens and Hans Hateboer, Castagne made 27 appearances for La Dea starting in 19 of these matches.
Although he is right footed and made more of his appearances on this side Castagne did appear on the left on 9 occasions and has also played in midfield over his career. With Leicester’s lack of depth, a player with this sort of versatility is much needed and it is clear to see why he has been signed. However, Castagne chipped in with 2 assists and a goal in Serie A last season which isn’t going to blow many away, especially with Ricardo Pereira posting Rocky like training montages on his social media, hinting at an imminent return to action.
On further inspection Castagne does have some interesting underlying stats when compared to his predecessor Ben Chilwell that may hint a greater goal involvement for Leicester:
Of course we are comparing Premier League performances to Serie A here but it is clear that Castagne is a strong passer of the ball and having a poacher like Jamie Vardy to aim at is certainly a plus.
The big question for a lot of FPL managers though is what does this mean for Leicester’s current £4.5M assets James Justin and Luke Thomas? Luke Thomas was thrown into the mix at the very end of last season due to injuries that ruled out out both Chilwell and Fuchs. The 19 year old never looked out of his depth and is definitely one for the future but it’s highly unlikely he will feature now Castagne has arrived and Fuchs is fit, Leicester are not going to rush his development and he will probably be a cup and rotation player for the coming season.
The James Justin situation is more complex, like Castagne Justin is a very versatile defender and has played right back, left back and centre back for Leicester. In Leicester’s most recent friendly against Birmingham Justin started on the right and then switched to the left when Thomas was subbed. On the final day of the season Justin played as the right sided centre back as part of a back 5. This throws up a few possibilities, firstly, both Justin and Castagne will start the season with Ricardo not returning just yet, Justin will be more likely to play on his favoured right side and Castagne on the left.Embed from Getty Images
When Ricardo returns things start to become complicated, Pereira is of course first choice for the right back spot so this leaves Justin and Castagne to battle it out for the left back spot, the first few games of the season are likely to be the deciding factor here so Justin owners would be wise to keep close tabs on the form of the left back contenders.
The other key factor to consider is who Leicester recruit in the remainder of the transfer window, if Leicester don’t sign a solid right winger, a weakness in the side since the departure of Mahrez, it is not out of the realms of possibility for Justin to drop into centre back again while Castagne and Ricardo take up the Wing Back slots. Naturally this limits his attacking returns but Justin would still represent value even at Centre Back.
My advice as would be to approach Justin with caution, although I feel he is a very solid player his time may be limited depending on how Leicester line up, and in the 2 preseason games so far this has been a flat back four. Ricardo won’t be rushed back into the team by any means but Leicester do have exceptional medical staff (see Ndidi’s miracle turnaround from a knee injury last season ) so an accelerated return may not be out of the question.