Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric chooses Foxes over Chelsea
Leicester City, odds-on 8/15 second-favourites to be relegated from the Premier League with Coral, have pulled off a coup by snatching Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric from under Chelsea’s noses.
The 23-year-old’s former club Rijeka took to Twitter to confirm his departure, subject to the Foxes gaining a work permit for him. Kramatic, who will cost in excess of £9m, was prolific in Croatia’s domestic league prior to the winter break, scoring 21 times in 18 games.
Jose Mourinho was also thought to be interested in landing the Blazers international, who has two goals in four senior caps, as Didier Drogba is expected to retire from playing this summer and take up a coaching role at Stamford Bridge.
Kramaric’s imminent arrival at Leicester may mean an end to Nigel Pearson’s rumoured pursuit of ex-Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, who is understood to be unsettled at Canadian MLS franchise Toronto FC.
While the Foxes are in the thick of a relegation battle, Chelsea are chasing trophies on four fronts. Moving to the King Power Stadium may result in more regular first-team football, which may have been a factor in Kramaric choosing the East Midlands outfit over the Blues.
A fee of over £9m will see Leicester break their transfer record for a second successive window, following the £8m summer signing of Argentine attacker Leonardo Ulloa, who is the club’s top scorer but experienced a recent goal drought.
Pearson has already made a January signing, landing ex-Australia and Chelsea reserve stopper Mark Schwarzer for Leicester until the end of the season.
A product of Dinamo Zagreb’s academy, Kramaric has replaced Hull City counterpart Nikica Jelavic in the Blazers set-up following the latter’s retirement from international football. Croatia coach Niko Kovac is overseeing a transition with many players from the Slaven Bilic era finishing or reaching the end.