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Whoscored: Pleasant early Prem surprises

Southampton Sep 26, 2014
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 By Ben Jacobs
Aug 28, 2014

Gritty Cambiasso will fit right in at Leicester City

After more than a decade at Inter, Esteban Cambiasso is swapping Milan for Leicester.

It is not often I get excited by the signing of an "old man," but that arrival of Esteban Cambiasso -- affectionately referred to as "Cuchu," which is Spanish for "old man" -- at Leicester City is a shrewd piece of business.

The Foxes fought off fierce competition from Sevilla to land the 34-year-old, who leaves Inter Milan after a decade and more than 300 appearances at the San Siro.

Cambiasso is the most decorated Argentine footballer in history, earning 23 different winners' medals, including the 2010 Champions League. He also has won 52 caps for his country.

Clearly, the former Inter legend is past his prime, although he was nonetheless vocal in his belief that he was still good enough to start for his old club this season. He won't be winning any more titles with Leicester -- at least not in the Premier League -- but Cambiasso is vital to Nigel Pearson's side's hopes of survival.

Leicester is clearly quite a dramatic change from Inter, and before that Real Madrid, but Cambiasso is the kind of player who is always up for a challenge. Jose Mourinho even dubbed him Inter's "unsung hero" -- high praise indeed from the Special One.

Sitting in front of the back four, energetic Esteban will relish both the physical nature of the Premier League and being an integral part of a team of underdogs.

- Esteban Cambiasso signs for Leicester
- Jacobs: Leicester can't take games lightly

Chelsea fans, in particular, won't be particularly pleased to see him again. They will remember his crucial goal in a 2-1 victory at the San Siro in the round of 16 of the 2009-10 Champions League.

As he proved in that game, Leicester has acquired a gritty, no-nonsense midfield destroyer. He might have lost some pace but is still capable of weighing in with crucial goals -- one every eight games, based on his career stats -- and will also rarely give the ball away. The Foxes have acquired all these qualities through a free transfer, which makes the deal even more of a coup.

Style-wise, Cambiasso draws obvious comparisons to fellow Argentine Juan Sebastian Veron, but he is far more of a leader, with a slightly cooler head under pressure. Pearson isn't interested in divas. Cambiasso has thus been targeted because he shares Leicester's hard-working mentality, not just because of his reputation.

His addition reminds me of when Peter Taylor signed Roberto Mancini in 2001. The former Manchester City boss was 36 at the time and featured in just five games before taking the manager's job at Fiorentina. However, his class shone through, and he had a really positive impact on the dressing room.

Danny Drinkwater and Matty James will both relish playing alongside a player of Cambiasso's pedigree. I can't foresee either being dropped. Instead, Pearson will surely opt for a three-man central midfield -- particularly away from home -- with Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton or Anthony Knockaert out wide.

That will leave room for only one recognised striker, so Cuchu's arrival could prove bad news for David Nugent. After all, it's already clear that Leonardo Ulloa is first choice. Given the Foxes' record signing is also Argentinian, and can help Cambiasso quickly settle in, perhaps Leicester should now consider turning out in blue and white stripes.

Ben Jacobs

Leicester City fan Ben Jacobs is a sports presenter for the Arabian Radio Network. He also appears on beIN Sports across the Gulf and is a Middle East correspondent for talkSPORT. Prior to this, Ben was editor of Sports Talk, the Middle East's first all-sports magazine, and spent four years as a reporter for BBC 5 Live and on BBC One's Final Score. Follow him on Twitter @JacobsBen.

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