The English summer transfer season slammed shut before the start of the Premier League and in another fortnight the European transfer window will follow suit and all things being equal, the Super Eagles midfielder will spend another season at the King Power Stadium.
Wilfred Onyiye Ndidi is presently regarded as one of the best ball winners in the English top league and by all standards that is one of the highest compliments anyone can give to a 22-year-old who has only just spend two full seasons in the Premier League.
Scott McTominay won possession back 10 times vs. Chelsea. Wilfried Ndidi was the only U23 player to win possession more (12) across the opening weekend of the Premier League.
Two of the best young DMs around. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/XNzwciB3JB
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 15, 2019
But should Leicester City be the final destination for a youngster who holds so much promise for club and country?
Ndidi’s unalloyed commitment to Brendan Rodgers’ side is commendable and, at a time when players change clubs for the flimsiest of excuses, it must not be treated like worthless trash.
However, a time will surely come when club and player, in peace or in pieces, will have to part company and go their separate ways. While the club will almost immediately find a replacement, the player has one of two ways to go: down towards obscurity or upwards to greater heights. With all the attributes and skills that the Nigeria international has in his locker, he easily could be playing for any of Manchester United, Arsenal, PSG or Juventus without looking out of place at all.
Yet, at the peak of the transfer window when the top clubs threw cash around to lure the top players, aside for a few side glances and mild interests, no serious bids were made for Ndidi. Paris St. Germain spent 30 million pounds on Senegal’s Idrissa Gueye. Spurs broke a club record to secure the services of Frenchman Tanguy Ndombele. But no top club paid any attention to the 25 million-pounds-rated Nigerian.
There has to be something that the former KRC Genk midfielder is not doing right.
For all his ball-winning prowess, his incredible stamina – he featured 38 out of 38 times in the league last term – and his impressive tackling skills, Wlifred Ndidi comes way short in his passing ability. He is great at what he does, but the biggest clubs now want more.
Most tackles this season so far:
1️⃣5️⃣ Aaron Wan-Bissaka
1️⃣3️⃣ Ricardo Pereira
1️⃣3️⃣ Erik Pieters
1️⃣1️⃣ Wilfred Ndidi
— GOAL (@goal) August 20, 2019
From Arsenal, to Chelsea, to Manchester City, to Juventus, to Real Madrid, Europe’s biggest sides are seeking to follow the Barcelona template of playing the ball out of defence. It is the new trend.
Leicester City however tried to do same against Chelsea at the weekend at Stamford Bridge and it exposed the shortcomings of the Super Eagles star.
In the seventh minute of that encounter, Ndidi dithered for seconds uncertain where to send the ball as it came to him on the edge of the area. Blues attacker Mason Mount capitalized on the Nigerian’s indecision to rob him of the ball and score the opener for the home side. Thank goodness Ndidi had the presence of mind to overcome that early set back and head home his side’s equalizer but for that he would have been the villain for the next few days.
Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi denied Frank Lampard a first league win as Chelsea boss as they drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 18, 2019
The Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers would later take responsibility for asking his players to try something new and play from the back but the Nigeria midfield enforcer should know that is an indictment on his passing ability.
Top clubs expect their defensive midfielders to do more than just protect the defence, they will always prefer an N’golo Kante for his all round display, a Joao Moutinho for his ability with the ball, a Marco Verratti for his wide range of passing or a Tanguy Ndombele for his all-action performance.
Wilfred Ndidi can elevate himself into this group of world class players by improving on his passing ability.
The Super Eagles midfielder has a contract with the East Midlands club until 2024 but by that time he could be displaying his talents at a much grander stage – does it get bigger than the UEFA Champions League? – if he smoothens his rough edges and make a good go for it.