The 42-year-old was asked for his opinion on the 25-year-old Spanish attacker joining the Foxes from Newcastle United, a move that the Magpies confirmed had gone through on Thursday via their website, and used stats to make his case.
Connolly pointed out that there weren’t any forwards who made as many interceptions as Perez did last year, before slipping West Ham’s Anderson into the conversation by highlighting how many tackles he made.
“I do (think Perez is a good signing for Leicester) if you look at their players and Ndidi who was a great replacement for Kante, we’ve spoke on this show before about why they signed him, basically they’re looking for someone who was in the same exact mould as Kante and the first place you go is stats,” said Connolly on talkSPORT (Wednesday, July 3rd, 19:36).
“Right whose got similar stats to Kante all over Europe and it was Ndidi who came up closest and he did a brilliant job, and you spoke about Perez, I don’t think any other forward made more interceptions than he did last year.
“I think only Felipe Anderson from West Ham made more tackles as forward or attacking player so why has he signed him? Well, he wants to press high with loads of energy so I think signing someone like Perez is a viable alternative to Jamie Vardy. ”
While Connolly’s remarks will have Leicester fans buzzing about signing Perez, after all he was right to highlight the 25-year-old’s defensive stats as he did make 60 tackles, 10 blocks, 42 interceptions and 28 clearances in his 37 league outings, as per the Premier League, he also gave Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini a reason to be proud.
The West Ham manager no doubt will be thrilled that someone has finally highlighted the effort Anderson put in to help his team’s defence last season as the manager has likely played a part in making sure the Brazilian pulls his weight for the team.
The Hammers 26-year-old often took the headlines in his 2018/19 for his efforts going forward, he did score nine and assists four in his 36 league outings, but his defensive work was not often praised.
However, Connolly was right to namedrop Anderson as the stats don’t lie.
The Hammers playmaker made 80 tackles in his league outings, 20 more than Perez, made 41 interceptions, only one less than the Foxes ace, and blocked 17 shots. (Source: Premier League)
That’s a lot for a player whose main job is getting goals and assists for the Hammers, so Pellegrini no doubt will be proud of the 26-year-old after Connolly ensured he got the credit.