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EPL Transfer Spotlight: Leicester City’s Patson Daka

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Is the former FC Red Bull Salzburg player set to become Jamie Vardy’s heir apparent? 

Patson Daka celebrates with the 2020-21 Austrian Soccer Championship trophy - Red Bull Salzburg - tipico Bundesliga
Patson Daka enjoys the moment with the 2020-21 Austrian Bundesliga trophy. A sign of good things to come for the Foxes?
Photo by Andreas Schaad/Getty Images

With news of Leicester finalizing a deal to bring in Patson Daka, we look into the forward’s track record at previous clubs, as well as his prospects at the King Power. Is he a potential fantasy asset?


Meet Patson Daka

Daka was born in Kafue, Zambia on the 9th of October 1998. His early love for football was sparked by his father Nathtali, but Patson was forced to overcome tragic personal and professional challenges during his youth in Zambia. He lost his father at an early age, and would later lose a teammate and friend to complications suffered in a tragic bus crash. He was also regularly booed while at Power Dynamos, and had to endure intense scrutiny of his early Zambian national team performances by fans and media alike.

Despite these obstacles, at just 22 years of age Daka has surprised many by responding with grit and determination to become a successful professional footballer. By the time he moved from the Zambia Super League to Red Bull Salzburg after a loan spell at FC Liefering, he had won over the Zambian fans, who now hailed him as a national treasure. He has already won honors such as 2017 CAF Young Player of the Year, 2017 Zambia Sportsman of the Year, Austrian Bundesliga Player of the Season in 2020–21, and Austrian Bundesliga top scorer in 2020–21.

Indeed, during a recent interview with LCFC Daka said that he has become accustomed to winning trophies, having won the COSAFA U-20 Challenge Cup 2016, Africa U-20 Cup of Nations 2017, as well as multiple league titles and cups with RB Salzburg. This is a young man used to winning hardware, and that mindset combined with Brendan Rodgers’ tutelage could see him flourish in his new gaffer’s system.


Where Will Daka Fit In?

As a pacy and strong 6’1” striker who prefers his right foot but can also finish with his left, Daka has a skill set similar to Jamie Vardy’s. During his first interview with LCFC, Daka expanded on his excitement to learn under Leicester’s talismanic striker, saying:

“…Jamie Vardy is one of the players I was looking up to because of his play style and the qualities he has.”

When asked what kind of a striker he is and if he thinks his game will be suitable for the Premier League, he responded:

“I have to make it suit because I have to adapt to the environment. I can’t really describe the kind of player that I am because it depends on the opponent I’m playing against.”

Here is an analytical comparison to Vardy using data over a three-year sample period from sofascore.com:

Here you see how Vardy (blue outline) compares with Daka (green outline).
Image and analysis by sofascore.com

As we can see, Daka and Vardy have player attributes that are strikingly similar, although Daka still shows room for improvement in the areas of attack, creativity, and technical play. These are all aspects of his game that should benefit from an apprenticeship under the mentorship of Vardy.

Now let’s run a similar comparison between Daka and Kelechi Iheanacho:

Here you see how Iheanacho (blue outline) compares with Daka (green outline).
Image and analysis by sofascore.com

While Daka will certainly learn from Iheanacho, Daka’s attributes much more closely mirror those of Vardy, suggesting that Brendan Rodgers will ultimately groom Daka to take the place of an aging Vardy in a strike partnership with Nacho.

Daka’s abilities in defense and tactical play should dovetail with the system already in place at Leicester. As long as the players generate chemistry, that could lead to a seamless transition when Vardy needs rest or is unable to play. And since Daka has expressed ability to adapt his play to fit the opponent, I’d expect him to be tested in Iheanacho’s role occasionally as well.


Daka’s Prospects at Leicester

Last season Daka was the top goalscorer in the Austrian Bundesliga, netting 27 goals in 28 appearances despite starting in only 21 games. All but three of those goals were made from inside the box, with 16 coming off his right foot, seven from his left, and four from his head. The season prior he scored 24. His impressive strike rate is perhaps a bit deceptive though; he also missed a whopping 23 big chances in the last campaign. So while he will obviously need to work on becoming a more clinical finisher, his upside nonetheless seems huge.

As both a real-life player and fantasy asset, Daka is exciting. But many FPL managers will balk at his £7.5M price tag, and for good reason. As a general rule I tend to avoid new transfers, preferring to wait and see how they settle. The Prem is a far cry from the Austrian Bundesliga, and the transition is likely to be bumpy. But although he’ll surely start life at the King Power as Vardy’s deputy, Leicester is involved in four competitions and Daka will surely get his chances.

At the end of the day this seems a shrewd signing for Leicester, one that should excite supporters and neutrals alike. The young player is still a raw product, but now that he is enrolled in “finishing school” under the instruction of Brendan Rodgers and Jamie Vardy, we can look forward to his development into a mature and composed goalscorer who could one day even assume Vardy’s mantle as talisman. His progress should be a pleasure to watch.


Will you take a chance on Daka in your gameweek-1 squad, or will you take a wait-and-see approach? How do you think he’ll fare in the rough and tumble of the EPL? Will he one day take the reins from Jamie Vardy? Please tell us what you think in the comments below!

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