Leicester City’s permanent signing of Youri Tielemans (£6.5m) continues to boost interest in their assets for the start of the 2019/20 season.
Fantasy Premier League managers had already been considering Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) and James Maddison (£7.0m) so far in the summer, but the cheaper Tielemans will now rival those two – as well as new singing Ayoze Perez (£6.5m) – for inclusion in our squads.
In this latest Scout Report article, we will analyse the Belgian’s exploits during his loan spell at Leicester last season and assess his potential for the 2019/20 campaign.
Later today, we will have a more in-depth look at Tielemans’ numbers and how they stand up to Maddison’s in particular in an article for Fantasy Football Scout members.
The History and Statistics
Tielemans has been one of the most promising midfield prospects of European football in recent years.
Still only 22-years-old, the Belgian has already made over 250 senior appearances across his country’s top flight as well as Ligue 1 and, as of February 2019, the Premier League too.
Between 2013 and 2017, Tielemans was at Anderlecht, where he scored 35 goals in 185 appearances in all competitions.
His last campaign in Belgium saw him net five times in 15 European appearances.
That’s what drew attention to him from the bigger clubs on the continent and earned him a move to AS Monaco.
Tielemans did not have quite so much success in Ligue 1, scoring just five times in 47 league matches for Monaco.
However, that didn’t stop him hitting the ground running when he arrived in Leicester back in January of this year.
It took Tielemans just three games to get his first attacking return for the Foxes, providing an assist in a 2-1 win over Brighton in Gameweek 28.
That started an incredible run of reliability for the Belgian international as he went on to involve himself in eight goals in the next nine Gameweeks.
In fact, between his debut in Gameweek 26 and the end of the campaign, only Vardy (12) secured more attacking returns than Tielemans (eight).
Three of those were his own goals, with a further five coming from four regular assists and one of the Fantasy variety, a deflected cross to Wes Morgan (£4.5m) against Burnley in Gameweek 31.
During that time, Maddison was the next most central figure to Leicester’s FPL developments, scoring twice and assisting three times (five goal involvements).
That was three fewer than Tielemans despite playing 27 more minutes than him between Gameweeks 26 and 38.
So the question moving forward into the new campaign is whether or not the Belgian can continue to outperform Maddison, given that he already offers a £0.5m saving.
A closer inspection of the underlying statistics shows an interesting story, revealing that it’s not an open and shut case when we compare Tielemans against his now-permanent colleagues towards the back end of last season.
|Player||Mins per shot||Mins per shot in the box||Mins per shot on target||Mins per chance created ⬇|
We discuss Perez’s underlying numbers, meanwhile, in a piece written shortly after his move from Newcastle.
As you can see from the table above, Tielemans did not come out on top for any of the attacking statistics we used to compare him against his key team-mates.
Maddison created more chances than any Leicester player between Gameweeks 26 and 38, averaging one every 26 minutes.
The fact that he has almost complete control of corners and free-kicks will have played a big part in this.
Next up was Harvey Barnes (£6.0m), who fashioned one every 57.2 minutes.
Even centre-forward Vardy averaged a better minutes per chance created than Tielemans’ 68.2.
That’s not to say that the Belgian was not an important part of the team though. In fact, no Leicester player created more big chances than Tielemans during his time at the club last season.
Recording a total of six, the same number as Ricardo Pereira (£6.0m), meant that the Belgian averaged a big chance created every 181 minutes.
When studying the goal threat, we can see again that Maddison was shooting more often than Tielemans too, as was Barnes and, not surprisingly, Vardy.
The Foxes’ talismanic striker was obviously top for minutes per shot in the box (33.4) too and, out of these four key team-mates, Tielemans actually came out worse in that department, averaging a shot in the box every 155.9 minutes.
Perhaps it’s possible then that such a run as he produced at the end of last season, in which he secured eight attacking returns in nine Gameweeks, is somewhat unsustainable at the start of 2019/20.
What these pieces of information mean for Tielemans’ expected goals (xG) is something we will have to save for our upcoming Members-only article.
How his underlying translates into xG, and those of his colleagues will give us the full picture of what use Tielemans will be to Fantasy managers this season.
As that data is a big part of our Membership package, only those signed up for the 2019/20 campaign will be able to read our analysis of it, coming later today.
While Tielemans doesn’t hold up as favourably as we’d hoped when it comes to the raw underlying statistics, there are, of course, plenty of positives about the player.
In particular, he seems to have advantages over Maddison and Barnes in terms of security of place in the team.
For the majority of Tielemans’ time at Leicester, he was stationed in a central midfield pairing of a four-man bank, enjoying consistent time in the same role.
However, while he was in that role, Brendan Rodgers experimented with different roles for the fifth midfield man.
Sometimes Maddison was deployed as a number 10 behind Vardy in a 4-4-1-1, while at others, Wilfried Ndidi sat behind the midfield in a 4-1-4-1.
Furthermore, Maddison was also moved into several positions within the midfield four at times, either in the middle with Tielemans, or in the place of Barnes on the left flank of it.
Either way, compared to those two midfield team-mates, Tielemans held his position while the others shifted around him.
That is certainly to his credit as it would have almost certainly contributed to his consistent return of FPL points compared to Maddison and Barnes.
Crucially, the £6.5m price-tag is the key appeal of Tielemans though.
The £0.5m over Barnes is worth paying given that he is considerably more assured of a start than the Englishman, while he still offers a £0.5m saving against Maddison, who he outscored in his time at Leicester in 2018/19.
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