Andrej Kramarić – the forgotten man in Leicester City’s Premier League success

They say that hindsight is a wonderful thing – with that in mind, considering Leicester City’s future fortunes should be an exercise undertaken with extreme caution.

The Foxes were odds-on to be relegated from the Premier League in January 2015, before performing a miraculous escape act.

Few would have predicted the King Power Stadium outfit would then spectacularly go on to win the Premier League title the following season.

One statement that many made, including myself, was that the signature of Andrej Kramarić in January 2015 was a coup for Leicester and the player would have an impact in England.

However, it turned out that while Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and the rest of the Foxes’ heroes were thrilling their way to become English champions, the Croatian striker was nowhere to be seen.

An immensely impressive return of 37 goals in 42 league starts for modest outfit Rijeka had European scouts clambering over Kramarić but it was Leicester who won the race for his signature in a club-record £9 million deal – beating Chelsea in the process.

The 25-year-old would score two goals as the Foxes avoided relegation in 2014-15 under Nigel Pearson and was being tipped to have more of an impact last term as he settled into the English game.

A total of 22 minutes of Premier League action in Leicester’s most memorable of seasons relegated Kramarić to forgotten figure status and he was duly loaned to Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim almost a year to the day he had first moved to the King Power Stadium.

The Croatia international had more of an impression in Germany than he managed in England, scoring five goals in the second half of last season.

Andrej KramarićHe has since moved to Hoffenheim on a permanent deal, bringing a completely underwhelming and forgettable tenure with Leicester to an end.

Kramarić’s goal record in his homeland and the glimpses of ability that he showed in the Bundesliga last term suggest that the Croat has what it takes to be a hit in Germany.

However, his disappointing stint with the Foxes show that it takes a certain type of player to fit into Claudio Ranieri’s side.

Vardy and Mahrez made the headlines for their achievements last term and rightly so, with Leicester clearly calculating carefully who to bring to the club this summer after Kramarić’s spectacular flop to complement the deadly duo.

With Champions League football to play and a fairytale journey behind them, the King Power Stadium side will have had plenty of players to choose from this summer.

However it will be with Kramarić’s example in mind that Ranieri and the club have moved to land Ahmed Musa as the only attacking addition of note.

The Nigerian has displayed frightening pace and penetration for both club and country, with his assimilation into the Foxes’ forward line surely set to be more natural given that his attributes align with Leicester’s style of counter-attacking play.

Given that, the natural inclination is to state that Musa will surely be a real asset to Ranieri’s men and an extra piece of compelling weaponry for the champions in the final third.

But, with Kramarić and his lack of impact in mind, it is perhaps wise that I and anyone predicting the fortunes of English champions Leicester City in the forthcoming season stay clear of sweeping statements.

By

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City.

I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline

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