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Player profile: Patson Daka

Generational talent. Nowadays, its high praise often reserved for the likes of the Mbappes and Haalands of the football world. There’s the scoring goals left right and centre. The speculative transfer fees that seem to rise by the tens of millions with every good game. However, a new talent has just arrived on the Premier League scene – Zambian Patson Daka. Now, he’s not yet in the same bracket as the aforementioned golden boys of PSG and Dortmund respectively. But over recent seasons, Daka has shown all the makings of a world class forward. So, what can he bring to Leicester City?

Humble beginnings and Daka’s breakthrough in Austria

Back in 2016, a young Daka showed great potential at Kafue Celtic. Years before, he’d been developed at Chingola club Nchanga Rangers. Domestic giants Power Dynamos came in with a loan deal. At the Kitwe based team, Daka enjoyed a good run of form netting 9 in 15 games. His performances caught the attention of the RB Salzburg’s extensive scouting network. He was picked up by their reserve team Liefering with another loan deal in 2017.

Daka and Haaland, via The Guardian.

2017 proved a good year for Daka. He earned a permanent move to RB Salzburg. With Zambia he won the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations. Personal triumph came as joint top scorer in that tournament and as he was awarded CAF Youth Player of the Year. After developing in the reserves and helping Salzburg win the Youth League in 2017, Daka’s breakthrough with Salzburg came with the arrival of the 2019/20 season.

Under the exuberant Jesse Marsch, Daka had a brilliant goal scoring season. Taking inspiration from former teammate Erling Haaland, by June 2020, he had 22 goals in 24 games. He ended the season the top scorer with 27 goals and Salzburg’s player of the season as they grabbed their eighth straight title. He also made history when he scored against Genk in the Champions League – becoming the first Zambian to score in the competition’s group stage.

Move to the Premier League

For any young player in form, transfers always seem imminent. Daka was no different. The likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and AC Milan were all rumoured to be sniffing around. Yet, it was Brendan Rogers’ Leicester that came in for the Zambian sensation and sealed his signature for £23 million on a five-year contract.

Daka was yet another brilliant player polished up by Salzburg. He’s another name in the Austrian side’s metaphorical conveyor belt that had seen Takumi Minamino, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane all move onto pastures greener.

Playing style and attributes

Daka is gifted with great pace and agility. At 6ft tall, he can be a threat in the air, yet a lot of his goals are likely to come at ground level – using his pace and positioning to either poach or get in behind. At Leicester, Jamie Vardy may set a good example for the 22-year-old.

Another interesting aspect of Daka’s game is his ability to dribble and create space. Able to drive and run directly, he’s not just there for the end product. In his prolific scoring season, he got 6 assists and was involved in most build up play going forward for RB even willing to drift out to the wings at times. He has great awareness for where his teammates are.

Capable of finishing with both feet, Daka looks a real danger for any opposition. Hopefully, with Leicester City’s facilities, he’ll be able to strive and excel.

Fashion Sakala pictured here for KV Oostende, has just recently signed for Rangers. Via Daily Record.

A transfer for all of Zambia

Daka’s transfer is so important for Zambian football. The Premier League has seen the likes of Robert Earnshaw and Emmanuel Mayuka, but the striker’s move alongside Enock Mwepu to Brighton is an even bigger step in the right direction. Also, with Fashion Sakala’s move to Steven Gerrard’s Rangers from KV Oostende, it looks as if a golden generation is in the works. Especially with Zambia’s tragic history that had previously stunted a great crop of players (i.e., the plane crash of 1993), this is ever more poignant. When Daka transferred, fellow internationals and even politicians were there to cheer him on, really showing the importance to the proud Zambian people.

Enock Mwepu another vital part of Zambia’s new generation. Via

As seen in his words with the BBC last year, his impressive form has made headlines across the world but also made him a national icon in his home country. Back at Salzburg, where Mwepu also played, a new legion of Zambian fans followed the club. Daka said to BBC: “It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Manchester United or Real Madrid – everybody’s supporting Red Bull because of us. Most of the time people ask, ‘how can we get jerseys?’” Well, there will certainly be more Leicester fans in Zambia now, that’s for sure.

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