Leicester City’s Nigerian midfielder Wilfred Ndidi is said to be on the radar of La Liga giants Barcelona next summer. Ndidi, whose current contract expires with the Foxes in June 2024, could be a target for a free transfer switch to the Nou Camp for the 2024/25 season.
The 26-year-old has so far opted not to sign a new deal at the King Power Stadium and, even if Leicester return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, it looks likely Ndidi will seek pastures new next season. That doesn’t mean Leicester will leave Ndidi on the sidelines this term. In fact, he’s been a virtual ever-present so far in 2023/24.
Leicester look well-placed for a promotion bid
Leicester have adapted impressively to life back in the EFL Championship. New boss, Enzo Maresca, has only been in charge just a few months but already the Italian has the Foxes playing in his style. It’s no surprise to see the 2015/16 Premier League champions installed as 1.85 favourites for the EFL Championship title with Betano, a new and user-friendly online betting site, followed closely by Ipswich Town (4.25) and Leeds United (8.00).
Reports in the Spanish newspaper, Sport, suggest Barça are one of multiple admirers of Ndidi. The likes of Juventus, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid were also said to have been casting glances at the Nigerian in the summer, but the Foxes were asking too much to entice any of the interested parties to part with their cash, especially as Ndidi could sign a pre-contract agreement with a club in January 2024. He’s clearly in good form after being named the EFL Championship’s Player of the Month in September.
It might seem a strange move from Barça to be eyeing up a player that’s plying his trade in the English second tier, but the Catalan giants are still having big issues with balancing the books. The same Spanish newspaper has claimed that Barça is prepared to listen to offers for any of its current first team players as they’re still some way above the £234m annual spending cap imposed by La Liga. Signing an international midfielder of Ndidi’s calibre on a free transfer is an opportunity that cannot be missed.
Ndidi’s career so far
The Lagos-born 26-year-old started his professional football journey as part of the Nath Boys Academy. He attracted the attention of Belgian Pro League outfit, Genk, on a tour. The club eventually agreed a €180,000 transfer fee with Nath Boys Academy, with Ndidi debuting for Genk before the end of January 2015.
Ndidi immediately attracted the attention of scouts working for Europe’s top clubs after landing the Belgian Pro League’s Goal of the Season award for his long-range playoff goal against Club Brugge.
Leicester City boss, Claudio Ranieri, was eager to clinch a deal for Ndidi’s services. The Foxes, fresh from their 2015/16 Premier League title triumph, agreed a £15m transfer fee with Genk in December 2016, with the deal officially completed in the early days of the January transfer window.
Two days after signing for the Foxes, Ndidi made his Leicester debut in an FA Cup third round tie with Everton, which City won 2-1. Ndidi was signed by the Foxes as a long-term replacement for N’Golo Kante, who was sold to Chelsea after Leicester’s unprecedented Premier League achievement. In the last six years, Ndidi has broken the 200-appearance milestone for the East Midlands outfit.
From an international perspective, Ndidi has been a regular in the Super Eagles national team, with 52 caps since debuting in 2015. He was part of Nigeria’s 2021 AFCON squad and will be in line to appear at the 2024 AFCON in Cote D’Ivoire too. In fact, the 2024 AFCON could be a shop window for Ndidi to impress potential suitors.