Timothy Castagne Can Replace Ben Chilwell at Leicester

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
THERE'S ONLY ONE TIMMY CHESTNUTS / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Timothy Castagne - or Timothy Chestnuts as his name translates in Italian - is poised to become Leicester City's first signing of an underwhelming transfer window so far.

Coming off the back of the club's second-best league finish in its modern history, supporters expected the Foxes to undergo an ambitious summer recruitment drive.

However, until last week, Leicester had been keeping their cards frustratingly close to their chest - if they even had any cards to protect in the first place. That all changed when a flurry of contract extensions were used to butter up the Foxes faithful, before Ben Chilwell's departure was finally announced.

Ben Chilwell was finally announced as a Chelsea player recently
Ben Chilwell was finally announced as a Chelsea player recently / Visionhaus/Getty Images

The vibrations have continued this week with Leicester fans finally getting a transfer saga to sink their teeth into. Flash forward to the present and that saga appears to be at an end, with Castagne's arrival set to be announced any minute now.

The 24-year-old began his career at Genk, who have carved out a reputation as Europe's most prolific talent factory in recent years. Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Leandro Trossard, Steven Defour and Leicester pair Wilfred Ndidi and Dennis Praet all passed through the club's ranks. Castagne is poised to become the latest graduate to move to the Premier League.

At first, the Foxes' pursuit of the Belgian felt a tad underwhelming - largely because they had previously been linked with Robin Gosens - one of the best wing-backs on the planet. Although he may not be as much of a household name, recruiting Castagne makes a lot of sense.

Unlike Gosens, who appears to have been genetically engineered to perfectly fit Gian Piero Gasperini's system, Castagne possesses an significant tactical flexibility. This will stand him in good stead at the King Power Stadium and will hopefully buck the trend of Atalanta players struggling after gaining their freedom from Gasperini's footballing cult.

He is capable of operating on both the right and left-hand side of a back four, meaning he could slot straight in for Chilwell but also provide cover for Ricardo Pereira who is still injured.

Furthermore, his time in Bergamo has also given him extensive experience as a wing-back. Brendan Rodgers showed a willingness to shape Leicester up in a 3-4-1-2, particular towards the end of last season, and this is a system Castagne would have no problem adapting to.

Even if Rodgers' does revert to the 4-1-4-1 that proved so fruitful for Leicester during the first half of the campaign, both full-backs operate as auxiliary wingers in this system anyway.

Castagne's versatility will be particularly important for the Foxes as they prepare for a ludicrously congested 2020/2021 fixture list. If Leicester replicate their deep runs into both domestic cups next season and do well in Europe, playing three games a week is set to become their new normal. Castagne ability to slide seamlessly into whatever starting XI is required will be much appreciated.

Castagne is versatile, capable of playing on either side as a full-back or wing-back
Castagne is versatile, capable of playing on either side as a full-back or wing-back / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

As his arrival has come within days of Chilwell departing the east Midlands, he has been strongly tipped as the heir to the Foxes' vacant left-back spot. But is he up to the task?

In terms of driving the team forward, the Chilwell holds a clear advantage, racking up almost double his counterpart's progressive yards per 90 minutes last season. The England international bounding into space with his slicked back hair flapping in the breeze become one of the defining images of Leicester's 2019/2020 season. Castagne will need to put in some work on the training ground and some purchase some olive oil if he is to replicate this.

Creatively speaking, the two players are on a par. Both created over two shots for their sides per game last season and each also completed close to six progressive passes every 90 minutes. Curling, inviting crosses from deep is in both players' repertoire as well. This is where most of their assists have come from over the past few season.

One area that Castagne may hold a slight advantage is defending. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Riyad Mahrez, Adam Traore and several much less illustrious names all gave the Chilwell the runaround last season, with the 23-year-old registering a 32.2% tackle vs dribbles success rate. This is far lower than the 44.7% posted by Castagne in Serie A.

The dogged Castagne also racked up more blocks per game than Chilwell, though there was not much difference between the two players in terms of tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes.

These metrics suggest that there is little to choose between the two players. This makes the fact that Leicester are set to snag the Atalanta man for less than half of Chilwell's transfer fee very impressive indeed.

The Foxes recruitment team has shown itself to be one of the best in world football recently and it looks like they may have snagged another chestnut in Timothy.