Bargain of the CENTURY: The story of Kasper Schmeichel
The Dane goalkeeper is leaving Leicester City for just ONE MILLION pounds, but was he already one of the biggest bargains in Premier League history?
Winning the Premier League wasn't in the plans for Kasper Schmeichel. Son of the great Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, his career up to 2011 had gone through a very different path than his father's, more a journeyman than a club legend. Now, with the Denmark No.1 set to depart the British Isles for the first time in his professional career, let's take a look at how he became part of one of the most impressive wins in history.
Young Kasper's early career followed the last embers of his fathers'. Born in November 5 1986, he was only four when his father signed with Manchester United, thus spending most of his childhood in England. After some time in Portugal (around the time his father signed with Sporting Lisbon) and then back in Denmark with SfB-Oure, Kasper Schmeichel signed a youth contract with Manchester City when his father controversially joined the Sky Blues in 2002, long before the days of the Abu Dhabi United Group takeover.
By 2006, Schmeichel would go out on the first of many loan moves, to Darlington in the EFL League Two, the 4th tier of English football. There he would have his professional debut, facing Peterborough United in January 2006. However, he would only go on to make a total of four appearances, before returning to Manchester City.
From there, loans to Bury, Falkirk, Cardiff City an Coventry City followed. Schmeichel would finally get his Premier League break at the start of the 2007-2008 campaign, making his City debut against West Ham United. However, he would leave Manchester City definitely at the end of the following campaing, moving to Notts County (at the time a League Two side) for £1.6 million.
Schmeichel showed what he was capable of with the Magpies. He allowed just 0.67 goals per match, and finished with 24 clean sheets in the league. However, despite earning promotion to League One, Schmeichel was released as the club could not afford his wages, as the contract had been signed while the club was owned by the high-spending Munto Finance.
From there, he joined Leeds United in the EFL Championship. Despite some injury problems, his stint with the Whites was largely possitive. However, he was sold at the end of the 2010-11 season, with Schmeichel admitting it was the wrong move: "I remember after three weeks I was thinking 'What have I done?'. It was just the wrong club for me at the time. It was very clear, very early that it was the wrong club for me. It was a club where I was not accepted because of my history, and my father's history. It was very present with the fans".
On July 1, 2011, Kasper Schemeichel would make the move that would define his career. Joining Leicester City for just £1.5 million, he would prove an instant success with the Foxes, earning promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2013-14 season, which earned him a new deal going all the way through to 2018.
Relegation was the main threat as Schmeichel made his first appearance in the Premier League since 2007/08. The Dane started his life in the top tier in terrible shape after missing much of the 2014-15 season due to a fractured foot. However, he would keep three clean sheets on his return to save Leicester from being relegated and inspired the Foxes to victories in their final four games of the season.
The following season, with Italian Claudio Ranieri at the helm, Leicester City would shock the world winning the Premier League. In a side ruled by Riyad Mahrez' skill and Vardymania, Schmeichel was a solid presence all season and proved his class with many great saves. From there, the fairy tale for Schmeichel and Leicester City would continue, with a run to the Champions League quarterfinals, continued challenge for a top four spot, and even a FA Cup win in 2021.
Now, the story is coming to a close. Kasper Schmeichel is putting an end to his incredible run with Leicester City, as he moves to Ligue 1 with OGC Nice on a three year deal. The price of just £1 million may seem very low for a Premier League-winning goalkeeper with still many years ahead of him. But it could be that in this, as with so many things, Kasper is looking up to his father; after all, Peter was described by Sir Alex Ferguson as "the bargain of the century" after he acquired his services from Brøndby for just £505,000.
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