Like the Biblical ‘Rejected stone becoming head corner stone’, several Manchester City fans have taken to social media to plead with the Etihad team to re-engage Kelechi Iheanacho from Leicester City due to his current.
Iheanacho’s goals are sustaining the King Power Stadium outfit’s drive to finish in the top four and gain ticket to play in the lucrative money awash Champions League.
Iheanacho, who joined the professional football train in Europe shortly after his exploits at FIFA U-17 tournament in 2013, signed for Manchester City less than a year after but was surplus to requirement under current Manager, Pep Guardiola.
He was consequently shipped out to Leicester City three seasons ago.
But lately, the AFCON 2019 Bronze medal winner with Nigeria is now the rave of the moment in the English Premiership with 14 goals in 14 appearances as the former Champions continue to fight for a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League tournament.
While the ‘Cityzens’ are initiating the move for the Nigerian forward to return to Etihad, Iheanacho’s £50million buy-back option expired last summer thus leaving the in-coming Premier league winner with exorbitant purchase of the forward if they would be willing to have him back.
The Nigerian was a bit-part player at City until his move to the Foxes in 2017, stuck behind Sergio Aguero in the pecking order and regularly coming on as a substitute late in the game.
When he headed for Leicester, Man City included a £50m buy-back clause, and following his recent incredible form fans of Pep Guardiola’s men have urged the club to make use of it, with Aguero set to leave at the end of the season.
But Sportsmail reported that it is bad news for City fans, Iheanacho’s buy-back option expired last summer – just before his superb form of this season began.
The Nigeria international scored a stunner against Crystal Palace on Monday night to help Leicester move one step closer to next season’s Champions League, securing his side a 2-1 victory late on.
Iheanacho now has 14 goals in his last 14 matches, and is on a run of five in his last four.
Taking to social media after the 24-year-old’s latest impressive display, one fan wrote: “I really hope we activate that buy back clause on Iheanacho,” while another tweeted similar to the club.
Another City fan tweeted a picture of City legend Vincent Kompany and boss Guardiola celebrating, alongside the caption: “When City realised they have a buy back clause in Kelechi Iheanacho’s deal.”
Although, it looks unlikely that Leicester will part ways with Iheanacho unless a very big transfer fee is offered in the summer.
Regardless, the Foxes will be keen to keep hold of one of their biggest stars, after watching him replace Jamie Vardy as their main goal scorer.
Meanwhile, Leicester City’s Manager, Brendan Rodgers, has saluted Iheanacho after his superb display in Monday’s 2-1 Premier League win over Crystal Palace.
The 24-year-old set up Leicester’s equaliser for Timothy Castagne, then smashed home an 80th-minute winner to complete the turnaround at King Power Stadium.
Rodgers started Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy together only eight times last season but injuries have forced him to opt for a strike pairing in the last 10 games.
And Iheanacho has responded, scoring 12 goals from the last nine games, and Rodgers described his form as “incredible”.
“The top priority for me as a coach is helping players to develop,” Rodgers told the BBC.
“It’s been difficult for ‘Kele’ because of the style we normally played which was one striker – Vardy.
“We had to change it with injuries, he’s come in and been exceptional. Not just his goals, he’s so happy to work hard for the team and his quality is phenomenal.”
Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel said Iheanacho had all the qualities to be a top striker.
“He’s so good at the particular one where he shifts it and then puts it through the defender’s legs and wrong-foots the goalkeeper,” Schmeichel told Sky Sports.
“He’s a nightmare in training.”
Vardy, who has 15 goals overall this season, has been Leicester’s top scorer in the last five campaigns but faces stiff competition this time from Iheanacho (17).
“As a team we work for each other, it doesn’t matter who scores,” Iheanacho told the BBC. “There’s so much to improve in games so I’ll keep going, doing my best.”