YOURI TIELEMANS joined Leicester after wanting no part of Manchester United’s turmoil, Chelsea’s transfer ban and Arsenal’s lack of ambition.
Having sealed his club record £40million move from Monaco, the Belgian swiftly predicted the Foxes are capable of ruffling the feathers of the top six for the first time since they famously won the Premier League title in 2016.
Man Utd were in the running to sign the 22-year-old midfielder as a possible replacement for Paul Pogba.
But Tielemans wanted to commit to the Foxes given the chaos at United – which includes a bust-up between Pogba and Jesse Lingard – and dangers at the other clubs.
The Blues have been hit with a two-window ban for breaching rules over the signing of youngsters and Arsenal have a £40m budget this summer.
Tielemans will pocket in excess of £85,000-a-week after agreeing a bumper four-year-contract.
And he said: “I believe we have the talent in our squad to achieve something special and for any player, that’s an exciting thing to be a part of.
“It is such a great feeling to sign for this Football Club. Ever since I arrived on loan last season, all the players, the staff and the fans have been fantastic with me, so I’m thrilled to be able to become a Leicester City player.
“I really can’t wait to get started again with this Club and do everything I can to help my team-mates.”
The fact Brendan Rodgers was able to splash out £70m in a four day spending spree, by following up Ayoze Perez’s £30m move from Newcastle United on Thursday with an even bigger deal, speaks volumes for Leicester’s ambition.
Although sacked Frenchman Claude Puel deserves the credit for bringing Tielemans to the King Power on loan from his former club Monaco last January, Rodgers reaped the rewards as the box-to-box midfielder took the Premier League by storm.
Tielemans scored three goals and provided four assists in 13 appearances to become an instant hit with Leicester supporters who begged the club to make his move permanent over the summer.
Rodgers was only too happy to oblige after the Belgian struck up a brilliant partnership with James Maddison and midfield anchor Wilfred Ndidi, to become the club’s top performing midfielder in the closing months of the season.
Rodgers told LCFC.com: “Youri fit brilliantly into the squad last season, he’s already shown that he’s capable of making an impact in the Premier League and he adds another option to an incredibly talented group of players here at Leicester City.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time for this Football Club and to be able to bring players of Youri’s quality here is an indication of the hunger for success we have here.”
‘HUNGER FOR SUCCESS’
Tielemans could easily have strung Leicester along this summer, waiting for some of Europe’s elite clubs to come calling.
However the player was eager to return to the King Power after enjoying the freedom he had to play under Rodgers as Leicester finished the season strongly.
He will now join up with his team-mates at their summer training base in Evian, in the French Alps, believing his new club do not have a massive mountain to climb as he targets European football at the end of his first full season.
The Foxes will get an early indication of how they have strengthened over the summer when Wolves visit the King Power on the opening Sunday of the season, due to their opponents’ Europa League commitments.
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Leicester believe Tielemans is a real statement signing.
The youngster first burst on the scene when he made his Anderlecht debut as a 16-year-old – three months later he was starring for the Belgians against Olimpiakos in the Champions’ League – the youngest ever Belgian to play in the competition.
He has already made 23 appearances for Roberto Martinez’s star-studded Belgian squad which finished third at the 2018 world cup, playing in both victories over England in Russia.