Iheanacho PL record: Is it time for “Senior Man” to leave Leicester City?

Iheanacho PL record: Is it time for “Senior Man” to leave Leicester City?
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 15: Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City celebrates after scoring the team's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Etihad Stadium on April 15, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Kelechi Iheanacho scored a milestone goal in Leicester City's 2 – 1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday in the Premier League.

The goal was his fifth of the season in the Premier League and his eighth in all competitions for the Foxes this season. He still has six games to increase this margin to catch up his tally from the 2019/20 season, his second best season since switching the Etihad for the King Power Stadium in 2017/18 because his 2020/21 levels are unattainable at this stage of the campaign.

If he ends the season like this, however, he will end it with his head held high. This is thanks to his achievement in the win, which was also a vital one for the Foxes who are fighting in the relegation battle.

Kelechi Iheanacho is now the third highest-scoring Nigerian in the Premier League, thanks to his fifth goal of the 2022/23 season.

He shares the record with former Newcastle United man Shola Ameobi, who also scored 43 goals. Iheanacho could have gone third outright but one of his shots was saved by Jose Sa in the Wolves goal during the game. Only former Everton striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni (95), Arsenal legend Nwankwo Kanu (54), and former Bournemouth man and current Premier League commentator, Efan Ekoku (52) have scored more than Iheanacho in English football's top flight.

Iheanacho was also amazing in the game. He played in his most natural role, the supporting striker role with veteran Jamie Vardy just ahead of him. He was taken off in the 88th minute to loud cheers from the King Power, where he is now a fan favourite.

Despite all of these, “Senior Man”, as he is fondly called, is yet to cross 30 league appearances in a 38-game season.

The most number of appearances he has made in the league is 30 in the 2018/19 season where he scored one league goal. He could not earn the coaches trust enough even in the 2020/21 pandemic season where he was the team's main man and top scorer in all competitions (12 in the Premier League) to play more than the 25 league games he played that season.

He was already being coveted by a few clubs when he signed a contract extension at the club in his groundbreaking 2020/2021 season. The number of clubs now interested in his services have dwindled and not many in the Premier League see him as an option anymore.

He has given all he can to the Foxes in six seasons at the club playing a limited number of minutes. They have not found him worthy enough to lead the line or play behind a striker often – the position in which he excels most.

Dean Smith seems to like him judging by the number of opportunities he has had since the English manager took over from Brendan Rodgers. The problem, however, is that Smith may have been a hire to help them navigate the waters of the EFL Championship should they fail to save their season.

Iheanacho is too good for the Championship but is currently not wanted by many in the league. The fact, however, remains that the time has come for Senior Man to move on from the club and find somewhere he can get significant minutes for his club career's sake and his national team career's sake.

This article was most recently revised and updated 12 months ago

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