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Premier League Transfer Analysis: Leicester City's New Striker, Andrej Kramaric

With the potential to be their most expensive signing ever, Leicester City's new striker is worth a closer look. Will he be a success for the Foxes and our fantasy squads, or will he be a flop?

Don't worry fantasy managers, this isn't him.
Don't worry fantasy managers, this isn't him.
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The Premier League newcomers made a splash in the January transfer window, announcing the 23 year-old striker as their first signing for a fee that could potentially rise to as much as £9 million. That sum would exceed the £8 million transfer record paid for Leonardo Ulloa last summer.

The Croatian youngster came through the youth ranks at Dinamo Zagreb, ascending to the senior squad as a 17 year-old before spending time on loan with NK Lokomotiva in the 2012-13 season. In the summer of 2013 it was another Croatian side, HNK Rijeka, who came calling for Kramaric's signature after a falling out with management at Zagreb.

The striker flourished in the MAXtv Prva Liga this season, scoring 21 goals and providing two assists in 18 appearances for Rijeka. His stats remain impressive when factoring in other competitions, with a total of 28 goals and four assists in 31 appearances prior to sealing the switch to the Premier League.

Kramaric has admitted there were a number of suitors in England and throughout Europe when the transfer window opened, including league-leaders Chelsea, but the Croatian stated he believed the amount of playing time he would get behind Diego Costa would limit his career progression, hence the choice to join the Foxes. Still, the interest from the Blues should be enough to pique your interest if it wasn't already.

Leicester City has struggled mightily following a promising start to life in the Premier League that included a thrilling 5-3 victory over Manchester United, and they now find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with just 17 points in 22 matches. Nigel Pearson's side will need to start putting a run of victories together if they have any hope of surviving the drop come May, and the arrival of Kramaric could be just the boost they need.

Desperately lacking in the attacking department since Ulloa's form dipped, and with their best attacker Riyad Mahrez on international duty with Algeria for the African Cup of Nations, Kramaric will need to hit the ground running and start scoring goals quickly. The step up to the Premier League is a steep one, though, and as we've seen with so many other newcomers to the league, it may take a bit of time for the player to settle in.

The good news is, once he does get his bearings, Kramaric has the potential to be a valuable asset for the Foxes and for our fantasy teams. At his best when playing as the lone striker, he is versatile enough to play on either wing or in support of another striker. Given the sum paid for his signature, in addition to his reason for joining Leicester City, you have to believe he'll be a regular starter for the Foxes regardless of where he lines up.

Given Ulloa's poor form of late, Kramaric may be deployed at his preferred position from the start moving forward, though his debut substitute appearance against Stoke City came at the expense of Jamie Vardy, who has himself been drawing attention from the likes of West Bromwich Albion.

One thing that we should keep in mind is that Kramaric was the preferred penalty taker for Rejika, a perk that may not carry over to his time at Leicester. Still, his pace, technical ability and aerial prowess have earned him comparisons to one of Croatia's all-time great strikers, Davor Suker.

Hopefully we'll get to see Kramaric in the starting lineup in Week 23 as Leicester City travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. Could the new man inspire his side to another shock victory over the Red Devils? It doesn't seem likely, but at the very least we should get an idea of the striker's potential to make a decision on whether to consider him for our fantasy teams for the final third of the season.