By 90Min
April 05, 2018

Vicente Iborra signed for Leicester City in the summer from Sevilla for a price believed to be around £12m and is proving to be worth every penny of the transfer fee. 

The former Sevilla captain has gone under the radar as one of the Foxes most important players so far this season, but the statistics show just what an impact the 30-year-old has when starting games. 

Iborra has somewhat been in and out of the team so far this season, as he acclimatises to English football. However, the midfielder has started 21 games in all competitions so far. Of them 21 games, Leicester have won 12, giving them a win percentage of 57.1%. Compare that to the 19 games that Iborra has been on the bench or not in the squad, and the win percentage drops to 26.3% (5 wins from 19) - a difference of over 30%. 

Whether the difference is purely down to Iborra's absence or presence on the pitch is still to be seen, but such a big difference should make Leicester aware of the impact that the midfielder may be making on both performances and results of the team. 

So why does the midfielder have such an impact? 

The thing that is probably the most noticeable about Iborra when he plays is his calmness, especially when he is on the ball. There are times when he makes it looks like he has more time than anyone else on the pitch when the ball is at his feet. He gives himself time to look up, and find the right pass to his teammates without being rushed by the opposition. 

With Claude Puel slowly changing the way that Leicester play, with emphasis on a more possession based style, Iborra's style of play could be an important factor in the transition. His strength in passing the ball can be seen from an average successful passing percentage of 81.7% 

The Spaniard usually sits just in front of the defence alongside fellow midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, and works with the Nigerian to allow Leicester's defenders a bit more freedom. If Harry Maguire brings the ball out of play from the back, it is usually Iborra who will drop back to cover the central defensive position that Maguire has left. While this is not always noticed by fans, it is an important aspect of Iborra's game, and shows that he is a team player.

Standing at 6ft 3in, Iborra is one of the taller players at the club, and has proven that despite mainly playing in a more defensive midfield role, he can also be a goal scoring threat. He has 3 goals so far this season, including two goals in his last two league games, both coming from his head. Having the extra height in the box for set pieces and crosses makes Leicester more difficult to defend against, and adds another element to their attacking threat. 

But it's not only in attacking areas that Iborra's height helps the team. When defending set pieces, the midfielder usually takes a position at the near post, his height allows him to attack and clear any short or flat balls that enter the area, extinguishing any danger. Without Iborra patrolling the front post, Leicester defenders would have to deal with a lot more balls making their way into dangerous positions in the box. 

While Iborra is proving his worth this season, he could become even more valuable to Leicester next season, especially if they reach their aim of playing in the Europa League. 

'Ibo' was part of the Sevilla squad to win three back to back Europa League titles in 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16. He was also captain when the club reached the knock-out stages of the Champions League last season, losing to Leicester in the round of 16. 

This experience of being successful in European competition would be highly beneficial to Leicester as, despite last season's Champions League journey, the squad are still relatively inexperienced when it comes to European competition. Iborra knows what it takes to win the competition, while also managing the congested fixture list that often trips teams up when competing in Europe, and that experience and knowledge could be invaluable to Leicester. 

However, even if Leicester don't quite make the Europa League places, It is likely that Iborra will only improve next season, after a year of experiencing and acclimatising to Premier League football.

The Spaniard is still uncapped at international level, but if he continues to have the impact that he is having on his club, then he will give Spain boss Julen Lopetegui something to think about over the next couple of seasons. 

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)