LEEDS UNITED fans should enjoy the ‘flamboyant’ skills of new acquisition Sol Bamba - who attracted a cult following during his previous spell in England at Leicester City.
That’s the view of Rob Tanner, Foxes reporter for the Leicester Mercury newspaper, with Bamba spending just under 18 months in the East Midlands from January 2011 to June 2012.
The French-born Ivory Coast international defender, 30, who has joined United on loan from Palermo for the rest of the season, may have only spent a relatively brief spell with Leicester, but he emerged as a fans favourite in his eventful time there.
Bamba arrived at City from Hibernian for an undisclosed fee in January 2011 and soon endeared himself to the club’s supporters by netting in the first minute of his debut against Manchester City in a 2-2 draw in an FA Cup tie.
Later that month, Bamba netted twice in the 4-2 home win over Millwall and soon earned himself a reputation for being a footballing centre-back.
Famously, then Leicester manager Sven-Goran Eriksson even compared aspects of his play to that of German legend Franz Beckenbauer, but without Der Kaiser’s customary command and surety at all times.
Despite being linked with top-flight clubs in the summer of 2011, Bamba signed a new deal with Leicester, but when Eriksson left, he soon found himself out of favour with his replacement, Pearson.
The former Hull boss sanctioned his £750,000 sale to Turkish outfit Trabzonspor in the summer of 2012, a move which disappointed a number of fans, including Cliff Ginnetta, the chairman of Leicester’s Official Supporters Club.
At the time, Ginnetta went on record to express his dismay, adding that one fan likened his sale to the departure of the legendary Frank Worthington from the club in 1977, such with his popularity.
On Bamba’s eventful time at Leicester, Tanner said: “When he was at Leicester, he was very popular with the fans as he was quite flamboyant.
“He will take a few touches and try and bring the ball out from the back.
“The reason he moved on ultimately, was that Nigel (Pearson) would not particularly chose that type of centre-half. He (Bamba) was one who liked to take risks, although he was very entertaining for the fans.
“I am sure the Leeds fans will take him to their hearts.
“He was a committed centre-half, although flamboyant on the ball sometimes.
“It is a surprise that since he moved away from Leicester that it has not really worked for him anywhere.”