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Leicester City ramp up interest in Iličić

The Premier League champions are scrambling for reinforcements as the traditional powers cherry-pick their top players, and have identified the Viola forward as a potential target.

Josip, I like you a lot, but your smile is genuinely frightening.
Josip, I like you a lot, but your smile is genuinely frightening.
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Josip Iličić has been linked to a number of Premier League teams over the past year or so. Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have been the two most often linked to a swoop for the Slovenian, but now there's a new suitor in town and apparently read to meet Fiorentina's €15 million valuation of the playmaking forward. There's nothing concrete yet, but enough and varied outlets are reporting it that it's certainly worth noting.

Iličić, fondly nicknamed Lurch around these parts, is coming off a season that looks good on paper but doesn't really capture his essence: 15 goals and 6 assists in 37 appearances is pretty good for a guy who's not an out-and-out striker, but also doesn't even come close to describing how frustrating he can be. Capable of all kinds of magic, he's also got the pace of a refrigerator and often shows a first touch that would make a hippopotamus blush. To say that he's an uneven player is to badly understate the truth. But he can do some pretty awesome stuff, too.

It's also hard to see how he would fit in with the Foxes' high pressure, hard-working, pace-dependent scheme. It's even weirder if he's meant as a Jamie Vardy replacement, given that Arsenal have supposedly triggered the Englishman's buyout clause, since he and Lurch are night and day. The former is fast, brutally efficient, and excels at finding space on the break and in the box; the latter is slow, often profligate, and mostly scores from free kicks, penalty kicks, and belters from outside the box. In a lot of ways, he's a luxury player, and it's hard to see how he'd fit in.

Word through the grapevine is that Fiorentina have set his price at €15 million and held firm through offers of €10 million from Liverpool. Of course, we've also heard that Paulo Sousa has personally requested to keep him and that the club is working on an extension with him. Given Corvino's ninja proclivities, there's no telling how this one will end up, but it's probably worth monitoring.