Leicester City are set to compete with Arsenal for the signature Ryan Bertrand over the summer after he leaves Southampton on a free transfer.
What’s the story?
According to The Telegraph, Brendan Rodgers is set to offer the 31-year-old left-back a contract over the summer as he searches for Christian Fuchs’ replacement.
Bertrand announced that he is set to end his six-year stay on the south coast over the coming months, and several Premier League clubs are expected to do battle for his services.
One particularly strong performance against Manchester United last summer led to the defender being hailed as “superb” by The Athletic correspondent Dan Sheldon, who was speaking on the Total Saints Podcast [via This Is Futbol]. Meanwhile, his averages of 2.1 tackles, one interception and 1.3 clearances per game hint at a player with an unfailing defensive work rate.
With 35-year-old full-back Fuchs expected to leave the King Power Stadium after the conclusion of the current campaign and James Justin facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury, bringing in some experienced competition for Luke Thomas has become a priority for Leicester.
The Foxes are also reportedly interested in signing Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare and Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard as Rodgers looks to add strength in depth to his relatively thin ranks ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, and those are transfers which could take up a sizeable chunk of the club’s budget.
Therefore, acquiring Bertrand on a free transfer to solve a temporary issue may prove to be a masterstroke from their Northern Irish manager.
Leicester have had incredible success over the last few seasons by being very clever in the transfer market, signing relatively unknown talents such as N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez for low fees before selling them on for a healthy profit.
Their policy has allowed the 2016 Premier League champions to punch well above their weight, and this could prove to be the latest clever acquisition, but for slightly different reasons.
Bringing in Bertrand while the highly-rated Justin recovers will allow Rodgers to focus his side’s modest resources on more important areas of the pitch, meaning that a push for the Champions League qualifications could once again be the cards for next season.
Signing a £9m-rated player (Transfermarkt) with more than 250 Premier League games under the belt for free should be a smart piece of business, and when it means Leicester can strengthen in other positions as well, it can be considered a significant coup if it comes off.