Bobby De Cordova-Reid to Leicester: The Athletic 500 transfer ratings

Leicester City have signed Bobby De Cordova-Reid on a free transfer after the 31-year-old’s contract with Fulham expired at the end of last month.

Our writers — experts in transfers, tactics, data and football finance — have come together to rate this summer’s senior Premier League transfers in five categories, with each aspect given a score out of 100 to reach a total score out of 500. Hence, The Athletic 500. The ratings are explained in more detail here (not all transfers will be rated as there may be a lack of data to support an analysis).

Below is our rating for this move.

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Tactical fit — 67/100

A look at how the player fits into his new club tactically, using Sentient Sports’ bespoke tactical-fit model, explained by our tactical expert.

De Cordova-Reid proved himself an effective jack-of-all-trades during his time with Fulham.

While he primarily featured as a wide player last season, where he was in and out of the side as the west London club finished 13th in the Premier League, he has played as a central midfielder, a No 10 and a left and right wing-back at Craven Cottage. That’s before remembering he was signed as a striker after impressing in that position with Bristol City and Cardiff City.

Given Steve Cooper’s use of wing-backs during his spell at Nottingham Forest, it would not be surprising to see De Cordova-Reid deputise in the right wing-back position he impressed in during the 2020-21 season. Leicester have talented wingers who impressed in the Championship, but Cooper developed a reputation for prioritising defensive stability at the City Ground and may deviate from the four-man defensive system most commonly used under Enzo Maresca last season.

If Cooper does decide to experiment with a style similar to Maresca’s, however, De Cordova-Reid is a capable option as a No 10 or winger — his 69 goals and 50 career assists demonstrate his quality in the final third.

But as he has matured, his ability with the ball is not what stands out. In fact, his 0.51 successful take-ons per 90 ranked in just the fifth percentile of attacking midfielders and wingers in Europe’s top five leagues last season, meaning 95 per cent of players in a similar position were better in this area. His progressive carries (2.2 per 90) and progressive passes (2.9 per 90) ranked in the 16th and 29th percentiles, respectively. While he was once primarily a player focused on attacking output, De Cordova-Reid now stands out for his defensive efficiency.

Last season, he averaged 1.4 tackles, 1.5 blocks, 0.9 clearances, and 0.8 aerials won per 90, which was enough to rank him in the 64th, 91st, 86th, and 75th percentiles, respectively, compared to his positional peers. In other words, he’s an outstanding defender in his position.

In this match against Nottingham Forest in February last year, De Cordova-Reid shows his defensive awareness as he scans to see Gustavo Scarpa making a run down the left wing. By the time the ball comes across and Scarpa is in position to shoot, De Cordova-Reid has got back into position to block the attempt and stop a shot on goal.

bobby dcr gif

Given Cooper’s focus on building a Leicester squad focused on stability, De Cordova-Reid fits well into his plans. For the away games at the ‘Big Six’ clubs when Leicester are expected to withstand pressure, he’s an outstanding defensive winger. If he chooses to play wing-backs in games where Leicester are set up to attack, he’s an accomplished wing-back with an impressive goalscoring record.

Elias Burke

Season rating: 60/100

Rating the player over the course of last season, using statistics from The Athletic’s data team.

It would be an overstatement to suggest De Cordova-Reid had an outstanding year at Fulham, but he was a valuable and dependable squad member at Craven Cottage.

De Cordova-Reid was in and out of Marco Silva’s side last year, featuring in 41 matches in all competitions but starting just 23 times. He started the season in style, netting the winning goal in a 1-0 win over Everton in the opening game, and finished with six goals and two assists in the league, primarily featuring as a right-winger.

He was instrumental in Fulham’s road to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, starting both games in the 3-2 aggregate defeat to eventual winners Liverpool and assisting twice in the 3-1 away win over Ipswich Town in the fourth round.

Elias Burke

Gaming rating: 68/100

Rating the player according to Football Manager 2024’s data across both current and potential ability.

De Cordova-Reid brings Premier League-quality depth and experience to Leicester, according to Football Manager.

While Leicester’s squad has plenty of top-flight experience in defence, midfield, and the striker position, there is relatively little on the wings. The Jamaica international’s current ability rating of 135 compares favourably with Leicester’s current options out wide, which include Stephy Mavididi (134), Abdul Fatawu (133), and Kasey McAteer (128).

Still, these players have lots of room to grow, whereas Sports Interactive’s scouting team believes De Cordova-Reid has reached his potential and will not develop further. In that respect, he’s a significant downgrade on last season’s talisman Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who can reach a potential ability of 165 on FM24, but he is not a like-for-like replacement.



Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall to Chelsea: The Athletic 500 transfer ratings

Elias Burke

Financial value rating: 54/100

A four-category summary of the player’s transfer in financial terms — and whether it makes sense for his new club

Market value — 19/25

Younger, less experienced wingers have been moving for huge sums this window, so the free transfer of De Cordova-Reid, who Fulham wanted to retain, is an astute deal. He is a Premier League regular in three of the last four years and the type of player who brings certain guarantees.

Squad cost — 16/25

Leicester will have to box clever this summer after their PSR issues of recent times and picking up an experienced Premier League player on a free transfer has obvious appeal. The move allows Leicester to focus greater spending elsewhere. 



Leicester fail in bid to avoid potential PSR punishment

Contract sensibility — 12/25

The carrot of a three-year deal played its part in De Cordova-Reid taking a chance on Leicester when Fulham were only offering two years. It is perhaps a year more than is wise for a 31-year-old, but recent seasons have at least been an endorsement of his fitness levels.

Resale value — 7/25

De Cordova-Reid will be 34 by the time this contract ends and his availability as a free agent this summer would suggest Leicester are unlikely to collect any future fees on the winger. That, however, was never going to be a motivating factor in recruiting this kind of experience. 

Philip Buckingham

Risk or reward? 75/100

Is there a history of injury or other problems that could crop up and make this deal a bad one in retrospect? Or does the player come with a clean bill of health? Our expert takes a look.

While De Cordova-Reid’s time at Fulham does not indicate he will be a phenomenon at the King Power Stadium, he is a very sensible addition as a free agent.

With 128 Premier League appearances under his belt, the Jamaica international brings know-how to a winger cohort low on top-flight experience. Having lost Dewsbury-Hall and Dennis Praet, Leicester were in need of reinforcements in creative areas and De Cordova-Reid brings flair and a goal threat to their attack without the promoted side needing to splash out on a big transfer fee.

On a three-year deal, De Cordova-Reid is contracted until he is 34. While there is no sell-on value, he will provide an experienced head on and off the field at his new club. And he’s often on the field, too, with a clean bill of health going back to 2021.

Elias Burke

Overall rating: 324/500

(Top photo: Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images; design by Eamonn Dalton)

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