What went wrong for Ahmed Musa at Leicester City?
There was a lot of anticipation amongst Leicester City fans when they forked out a club record fee of £16.6 million for CSKA Moscow striker Ahmed Musa in the summer of 2016. The previous season was the historic title-winning season and Claudio Ranieri was bolstering his squad for the new campaign, one in which Leicester would be competing in the Champions League. Musa, known for his explosive pace, was seen as a huge signing for the Foxes and one who was attracted to a move to England by the Premier League champions. However, it is safe to say that the move has not worked out for Musa.
Ahmed Musa made his Premier League debut for Leicester against Hull City in August 2016, a game in which the Foxes lost. It took the Nigerian striker until October to register his first goal for them against Crystal Palace. Musa found himself on the bench a lot and he struggled to establish a first-team spot past Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki. He may have thought he would get more chances when Claudio Ranieri was surprising and rather harshly sacked, however his chances became even more scarce under new boss Craig Shakespeare.
Musa played 18 games for the Foxes last season and scored just two goals. This, for the striker who was their record signing at the time, was a disaster of a season. He was heavily linked with a move away in the summer. A loan move to Championship side Hull City was agreed and a reunion with his former CSKA Moscow manager Leonid Slutsky was on the cards on deadline day, however, Musa turned down the Tigers which signalled his intention to try and fight his way into the Leicester team this season. He has only featured once since which was a League Cup tie against Sheffield United and he has not even featured for them in the Premier League so far. A January departure from the King Power Stadium looks a distinct possibility.
The question on many Leicester fans lips is why has Musa struggled so much in England? One reason is that he has never really been given a consistent run in the team. Claudio Ranieri and Craig Shakespeare have both not been huge fans of Musa and it seems that their new boss Claude Puel is not either. If he was to be given a few games in the first-team then maybe he would have more of an impact. Another reason could potentially be that his confidence is at an all-time low. It must be very hard to come from Russia, which is not the greatest standard of football, and hit the ground running in the Premier League immediately. He has been dropped to the U23s which must really affect his confidence.
Having previously been at VVV in Holland, Musa joined CSKA Moscow in 2012. He scored 54 goals in 164 games for the Russian giants and played Champions League football under Leonid Slutsky. Slutsky had a great relationship with Musa and brought the best out of him. CSKA played to Musa's strengths and he was the man that their players looked to set free on the counter-attack. They used Musa's pace to the team's strength and it was a key weapon for CSKA for over three seasons. However, at Leicester and especially last season when Musa got more game time, they never used him to his potential and he did not suit the way Leicester wanted to play.