Barring the most disastrous of late collapses, Leicester’s season will go down as a resounding success. The Foxes have defied all expectations and, as we all know, sit top of the table heading into the last weekend of February.
Although winning the most unlikely league title since Nottingham Forest’s 1977/78 triumph may prove a step too far, there’s not reason to rule out Champions League qualification, with the King Power Stadium outfit currently 12 points above a struggling Manchester United in fifth with 12 games remaining. Anyone associated with Leicester before a ball was kicked this term would have been more than happy with midtable obscurity, so securing the chance to play midweek European football, potentially against the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, will be a huge, huge, HUGE achievement.
Alas, the club cannot expect to go into the biggest club competition on the planet and survive with their current squad of overachievers, and a certain level of quality needs to be added in the transfer market. With that in mind here are FIVE realistic and positive deals the high-flyers could target…
Forget that now infamous three-game stint at Fulham, Mitroglou is a decent striker. The Greece international is still technically owned by the Craven Cottage side, but with the Londoners stuck towards the bottom end of the Championship the money needed to keep paying his salary simply isn’t there, so there’s every likelihood that once his loan deal with Benfica ends he’ll either be sold or moved on again. Reports claim Leicester are interested, and with the 27-year-old having averaged a goal every other game throughout his senior career, he may be worth the gamble.
Combative and barrel chested, the 6ft. 2” hit-man could be an upgrade on Leonardo Ulloa and offer a different set of skills than Jamie Vardy’s main strike partner, Shinji Okazaki.
Although Robert Huth and Wes Morgan have performed admirably this season, the thought of the German and Jamaican facing some of Europe’s elite is sure to be a worry for Claudio Ranieri, who must be aware that their agility and technique are a few levels below what it takes to play top tier European football. Dynamo Kiev’s Dragovic is a mooted target, and the Austrian is a far more progressive centre-back than the Foxes’ current options.
Further to this, the Ukrainian giants will struggle to keep him in a ‘lesser’ league for another season, so an offer of around £16m, their January valuation, might be enough.
Remy’s Chelsea days seem to be numbered. A widely mooted switch to the Chinese Super League looks unlikely to go through now with interest having seemingly cooled with top clubs in the East Asian nation having filled their non-home-grown player quotas, so the France international looks on course to hang around in west London before ending a disappointing two-year stint in the blue shirt with a move.
Leicester openly chased Remy during January before ultimately failing to get a deal over the line, so there’s every chance they could return. The fleet-footed striker is proven in the Premier League, boasts European experience and seems suited to Ranieri’s high-energy, attack-minded approach.
Perhaps more vital than making any signings, keeping the players that have made Leicester so awe-inspiring this season will be a major task. Vardy looks on course to stay put put following his contract extension, while it would be a shock to see a club pay a massive fee for the understated Kante, but Mahrez is thought to be attracting serious attention from all over Europe.
It may be okay for the Foxes to lose one of their awesome trio, but what sort of message would it send to the squad if multiple names slipped out of the door? Getting all three to stay remains a possibility, especially if Champions League football is to be played at the King Power Stadium.
With more La Liga goals than Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann this season (14), Deportivo La Coruna’s Perez is sure to be a player that will attract summer interest. The 27-year-old has somewhat found his feet at the Riazor after a difficult career that’s seen him play in Ukraine and Greece, and Leicester could offer him the next step up.
A goalscoring attacking midfielder able to play on either flank or as a ‘false nine’, the former Atletico Madrid trainee could compliment the skills of Mahrez or, if the Foxes are unable to keep him, replace the Algerian.