FOX TO FLEE RELEGATION
By Rupert Webster
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Izzet has developed a reputation as a goalscoring midfielder ever since signing for the Foxes in 1996. He scored eight times in 1999-2000, seven the year after and is currently the team's second-highest scorer with three Premiership goals to his name.
This could prove extremely beneficial at Boro, where midfielders such as Phil Stamp, Robbie Mustoe and to a certain extent Paul Ince provide stout defensive cover, but little in the way of attacking verve. Indeed, of all the midfielder's at McClaren's disposal, only the mercurial Argentine Carlos Arturo Marinelli could be said to concentrate mainly on the attacking side of his game.
As well as his goalscoring potential, Izzet can also be a potent creative force. He is Leicester's principle playmaker and has made some 895 passes this term, which is more than any other player at the club. The 27-year-old has not wasted this possession either, creating 23 goalscoring opportunities for team-mates, which is again the highest total at Filbert Street.
Admittedly, Izzet has only set up one goal this season, but this is perhaps more to do with Leicester's ailing strike force than the midfielder's own failings. Indeed, Dave Basset's team have scored with only 8% of their shots in 2001-02 - the second-lowest proportion in the division - and consequently fired just 18 goals this term, which is the smallest return of any Premiership team.
Should Izzet sign for Boro, he would link up with the likes of Alen Boksic and Benito Carbone, and with that sort of quality in the side, it seems probable that the Turkish international would be likely to improve his assists total considerably during the remainder of the campaign.
This could be of great benefit to Izzet's international chances. He has never really claimed a permanent place in the Turkish national side, but with their usual playmaker - Galatasaray's Sergen Yalcin - recently ruled out of the World Cup through injury, moving to a more high-profile club could improve Izzet's chances of a regular spot considerably.
Indeed, it seems that a transfer to Boro could be greatly beneficial to both Izzet and Middlesbrough. And with Leicester now looking doomed to relegation, the time would seem to be right for the midfielder after spending close to seven years at Filbert Street.