Leicester Mercury

Lazio keeper deal would signal Hermansen exit


- By JORDAN BLACKWELL jordan.blackwell@reachplc.com @jrdnblackw­ell

BASED on the one year of evidence so far available, Mads Hermansen could go down as one of Leicester City’s best signings of recent years.

It does not seem outlandish to suggest the club wouldn’t have been promoted automatica­lly without him.

He is perfect for Enzo Maresca’s system. He is both willing to receive the ball to feet and exceptiona­lly calm under pressure with it, while he has the vision, ability and tactical understand­ing to ping passes to his City team-mates.

Often with modern-day goalkeeper­s signed for their attributes in possession, they’re found lacking when it comes to keeping the ball out of the net.

But statistics show Hermansen was the best-performing shot-stopper in the Championsh­ip this season, preventing 5.7 goals more than the average keeper based on expected goals figures.

All that, and he only cost £6.5 million. Plus, he’s only 23 and is still some way off what is usually a goalkeeper’s peak. He feels like a true successor to Kasper Schmeichel.

It would be a mighty shame, then, if his City career lasted just one season.

Because the transfer links in Italy to Lazio’s Christos Mandas only make sense if Hermansen is leaving the club.

Corriere dello Sport say Maresca has been in touch with Lazio to ask about the Greek goalkeeper, who would cost around €15 million (£13 million).

At 22, and having kept five clean sheets in nine Serie A matches this season, he looks a bright prospect.

He arrived at Lazio last summer as back-up to Ivan Provedel, but injury to the number one gave Mandas his chance and he’s now keeping his team-mate out.

However, there isn’t any evidence that Mandas is especially good with his feet, a must for Maresca. This could simply be because of Lazio’s style of play, though.

But in any case, as things stand, City don’t need a new goalkeeper.

In Hermansen and deputy Jakub Stolarczyk, they are well-set for the Premier League.

It’s probably the one position where they wouldn’t need to strengthen as they return to the top flight.

When City were relegated, their goalkeeper was an issue.

As solid as Danny Ward had been in cup

matches as

Schmeichel’s number two, when he stepped up, he seemed to struggle under the pressure and couldn’t replicate his best form.

Now, City are returning to the Premier League knowing at the very least that their last line of defence is good enough. It should give them plenty of confidence.

But City also have financial troubles.

They need to make money from sales and Hermansen, so clearly talented in all of the areas top clubs want a goalkeeper to excel, is one of the few players in their squad who could turn a significan­t profit. That means his future isn’t totally secured.

However, the Dane was Maresca’s first-choice goalkeeper target and the manager won’t want him to be given up easily.

Plus, at £13 million, Mandas would be a pricey replacemen­t unless a fee of more than £20 million is expected for Hermansen.

For City fans, this will be a transfer rumour they hope doesn’t come to anything. Because Mandas will only be arriving in the event Hermansen is sold.


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 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? COMING AND GOING? Christos Mandas of Lazio and, below, Mads Hermansen
GETTY IMAGES COMING AND GOING? Christos Mandas of Lazio and, below, Mads Hermansen

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