If Leicester City were to going to win the FA Cup last May, when they faced Chelsea at Wembley, then someone in Brendan Rodgersâ€™ side was going to have to step up to the occasion and write their name in the Foxesâ€™ folklore â€” that man turned out to be Youri Tielemans.
The Belgium international sent the covid-reduced Leicester section of the national stadium into delirium when his long-range shot flew past Kepa Arrizabalaga and into the top corner of the net to give the midlands side a 1-0 lead â€” an advantage they would hold on to, to ensure that they lifted the famous piece of silverware for the first time in their rich history.
A lot can change in the world of football though. Not even 12 months on from that success towards the end of last season, Tielemans looks set to wave goodbye to the King Power Stadium when the 2021-22 campaign concludes in May as he enters the final year of his contract and is reportedly refusing to put pen-to-paper on a new one.
There has been a contract offer from the club for over a year now, one that would not only make the 24-year-old midfielder the current highest earner, but Leicesterâ€™s highest paid player ever. However, on the grand scheme of things, it is peanuts to what he could make at a European powerhouse, while he understandably wants to play Champions League football and compete for trophies on a more regular basis.
Rodgersâ€™ men have been mediocre at best this season, massively falling out of favour with those who bet on Premier League matches, while also scuppering the defence of their FA Cup crown with a shock defeat away to Championship outfit Nottingham Forest in the fourth round of the tournament â€” embarrassingly losing 4-1 to their Midlands rivals at the City Ground.
With Leicester looking increasingly likely to sink down into a midtable side, or perhaps worse, now is undoubtedly the right time for him to move on to pastures new and take his career up a notch.
There will certainly be no animosity when Tielemans moves on either. Heâ€™s loved by the passionate Leicester fans, who have carried on supporting him through this fiasco, and they have become increasingly used to losing their best players over the last few years with Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo KantÃ© and Harry Maguire all prime examples.
Some would arguably be surprised that Tielemans is even still a Leicester player at this point. The 24-year-old has been subject of transfer speculation over the course of the last few windows but a move has never materialised for the midfielder â€” largely due to the Â£40m+ price tag that Leicester were holding out for.
However, with just 12 months left on his contract by the time the summer window opens, the clubâ€™s chiefs will no longer be able to hold out for that hefty price tag and there will be plenty of potential suitors waiting in the wings and ready to move during the off season. Manchester United could do with someone of his quality in the centre of the park, while heâ€™d also slot straight in at Arsenal â€” but as things stand, neither would be able to offer him the Champions League football he craves!
Liverpool boss JÃ¼rgen Klopp could also see him as a possible replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, who left Anfield to join Paris Saint-Germain for free last summer and was never really replaced. His transfer fee shouldnâ€™t be too much of an issue for the tight purse strings of the Redsâ€™ owners either as theyâ€™ve dished out similar funds for Luis DÃaz and Ibrahima KonatÃ© in the last couple of windows.
It’s the right time for Tielemans to move on, but itâ€™s about getting his next move right as well. It will certainly be interesting to see how things develop over the summer months and where the 24-year-old will be plying his trade by the time the 2022-23 season rolls around in August!