The Austrian's contribution to Claudio Ranieri's fast counter attacking style on the left wing has been absolutely phenomenal.
Leicester fans could have understood that immediately, because his name suits the club perfectly. Fuchs is "fox" in German, and thus it was much more appropriate that he joined them rather that Swansea. The Swans were negotiating with the full back while the Foxes were in a danger of relegation last season, but Leicester eventually persuaded the Austrian to sign, and that was yet another success for their outstanding scouting team.
The Foxes signed Riyad Mahrez for just £350,000 from Le Havre in January 2014. They purchased N'Golo Kante for just €8 million from Caen in the summer, and he turned out to be the best defensive midfielder in the league. Robert Huth, who has completely changed the defence and turned it from one of the worst in the Premier League into a great unit, cost just £3 million from Stoke City. Leicester are doing such an amazing job that Arsenal signed one of their scouts, Ben Wrigglesworth. However, Gary Lineker claimed that Steve Walsh is the man responsible for the shrewd signings. "Fuchs was underrated, and we got him for free", he said.
Who is Christian Fuchs then?
Actually, he had to be noticed by scouts back in the 2010/11 season. Those who follow the Bundesliga might remember the sensational success of Mainz who won their first seven fixtures that term and were – somewhat similarly to Leicester – hoping to win the most extraordinary title in German history under Thomas Tuchel, the current Borussia Dortmund coach who replaced Jurgen Klopp. Three attacking players caught the eye – Lewis Holtby, Andre Schurrle and Adam Szalai, who were seemingly destined to superstardom.
Best of Christian Fuchs
Eventually, it didn't work out that way. Holtby, who was on loan to Mainz from Schalke, signed for Tottenham in 2013 but failed to impress in the Premier League, and is now at Hamburg. Schurrle was signed by Chelsea from Leverkusen for €22million, but that didn't really go according to plan, and the winger was offloaded to Wolfsburg a year ago – albeit at a profit. Szalai, a Real Madrid academy graduate, was linked to Arsenal in 2013, but nothing materialized, and he is now playing for Hannover, on loan from Hoffenheim – both the bottom two in the Bundesliga.
If you ask Tuchel, Fuchs was equally important that season. His versatility was easy for all to see. Very tough tackling and sound at the back, the Austrian is impressive going forward, and his crosses were amongst the best in the league. In addition, Fuchs possesses a remarkable range of passes – in fact, few defenders are better than him at long diagonal balls on the counter attack. He is also a free kick specialist, able to send curved balls into top corners. And he has the best throws imaginable after Rory Delap has retired. Those skills easily convinced Tuchel to sign Christian on a permanent basis after a loan spell from Bochum, but he was then immediately poached by Schalke, leaving Mainz furious.
Fuchs spent four seasons in Gelsenkirchen, and it must be said that they should have been much more successful. Competition with a somewhat overrated Dennis Aogo has been tough at times, and Schalke didn't always feel like the right team for Fuchs talents. Nevertheless, he enjoyed some massive games for the club and earned valuable experience in the Champions League. His part in the 4-3 win over Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu in March was especially impressive, with a well taken goal and an assist for Leroy Sane.
Leicester's strategy suits Fuchs much better. Ranieri understood that in the beginning of October when he chose to switch Jeffrey Schlupp into his more natural position on midfield and gave the Austrian to prove himself. The result has been outstanding, and it was Fuchs who assisted Jamie Vardy when he scored his historic goal against Manchester United in November. Fuchs' corner kicks are a great asset as well, and he assisted Huth who scored the winner at Tottenham in January and the crucial third goal at Manchester City last Saturday.
The only thing missing is a goal. The Austrian usually scores at least once a season, and there couldn't possibly be a better timing to do so than in the huge game at Arsenal on Sunday. Would you bet not that?