It’s set to be an intriguing summer for everyone involved with Leicester City Football Club as they attempt to build a side capable of breaking into the Premier League’s top four.
The Foxes have narrowly missed out on a Champions League qualification spot in the last two consecutive campaigns, but it appears as though the board are backing Brendan Rodgers in their pursuit of a place at Europe’s top table.
With experienced defenders Wes Morgan and Christian Fuchs calling time on their illustrious spells at the King Power Stadium and Jamie Vardy visibly declining at the top end of the pitch, Leicester are entering the next phase of their recent development.
It may be a period fraught with danger as Rodgers attempts to replace his reliable stars with youthful potential, however, it’s also an exciting new chapter for the current FA Cup holders.
Youri Tielemans shone throughout 2020/21 and has reportedly been the subject of attention from Manchester United and Liverpool, but with the feel-good factor surrounding Leicester, we can’t see the 24-year-old departing just yet.
With that in mind, how would Rodgers’ starting XI look next season once the summer transfer window has concluded? Here’s our prediction…
In truth, it’s hard to predict how Rodgers will set up on any given day due to the fluid nature of the former Celtic and Liverpool boss’s style.
He often switches between a back three and a back four, but we’re opting for a back four on this occasion as the Northern Irish manager will want to make a winning start of the front foot.
In goal, the virtually ever-present Kasper Schmeichel is bound to start, yet ahead of him, the Denmark international may be faced with several changes.
Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand has been linked with a move to Leicester on a free transfer this summer as Rodgers looks to replace Fuchs and provide cover for the 19-year-old Luke Thomas.
James Justin is expected to be sidelined for many months yet, so Bertrand may find himself in the starting XI come August.
The centre of defence may provide Rodgers with the biggest headache. Morgan’s exit means a new man will be needed and Burnley’s James Tarkowski (£30m) appears to be their number one priority. The highly-rated Wesley Fofana could edge ahead of the ageing Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu in the race to partner the England international.
On the right side, a fully-fit Ricardo Pereira will battle with Timothy Castagne for a starting berth, while the Leicester engine room should also have a more familiar feel.
The immoveable duo of Wilfried Ndidi and Youri Tielemans will take up their usual occupancy in the centre of the pitch, but they could be joined by the powerful and technical Soumare (£18m) to add some extra stability.
In attack, the return of Harvey Barnes will add pace, directness and goals to what became a slightly limp forward line in his absence and the clever interchanging of Edouard (£18m) and Kelechi Iheanacho should compensate for Vardy’s drop off.