Eyebrows were raised over the summer when Leicester City spent £8 million on Leonardo Ulloa – a striker with just 18 months of experience in English football under his belt from a spell at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Facial fuzz was soon dropped again, though, as the Argentine frontman opened the Premier League season with five goals in as many outings.
All of a sudden, the price paid for Ulloa was looking like a snip and those at the King Power Stadium were daring to dream that they had found the firepower to keep them among English football’s elite.
That opinion is likely to have changed, however, over recent weeks.
As the goals have dried up for Leicester, Ulloa has looked more dead wood than dead good.
In his last four outings, all of which the Foxes have lost without troubling the scorers, Nigel Pearson has seen his big-money buy muster one shot in 273 minutes.
That, to be blunt, is just not good enough for a multi-million pound forward at the very highest level.
|Match||Shots||On Target||Big Chances Missed||Touches||Mins Played|
|Leonardo Ulloa||Leicester vs West Brom||1||1||0||19||22|
|Leonardo Ulloa||Southampton vs Leicester||0||0||0||39||71|
|Leonardo Ulloa||Newcastle vs Leicester||0||0||1||61||90|
|Leonardo Ulloa||Swansea vs Leicester||0||0||0||61||90|
To be fair to Ulloa, all strikers need service in order to do their job and if others are not delivering their half of the bargain, there is little he can do other than cut an isolated and frustrated figure.
Despite being six feet three inches tall, he is relatively mobile and is prepared to do his fair share of donkey work for the good of the cause.
His strengths lie in finishing, though, and he needs the ball delivered into the box, be that on the ground or in the air, if he is to rekindle that early spark.
Leicester will be hoping that flame has not gone out completely, with Pearson and his troops being taught a painful lesson in how hard life at the top can be – as well as how quickly positivity on a personal and collective level can be forgotten.