Esteban Cambiasso’s decision to leave Leicester City is a big blow for new Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri.
The pair would have been reunited after having an unsuccessful season at Inter Milan together a couple of years ago where the “tinkerman” guided Inter to a disappointing sixth place finish in Serie A – their lowest league finish in 13 years coming just two years.
The pair left the Italian giants that summer and could of been reunited at the King Power, however the popular Cambiasso amongst Foxes fans has chosen to leave and he will be a very difficult player to replace.
Fans of the Foxes would’ve been hoping the pair’s previous relationship together at Inter would have meant there wouldn’t have been any need to replace Cambiasso this summer, but those hopes were soon dashed as the pair didn’t even get a chance to share a training session together.
The former Chelsea manager was desperate to keep hold of Cambiasso, too, but his appeal to the Argentinian seemed to have little affect.
Ranieri said: “I said to him: ‘I need you. Everybody loves you in Leicester, please come back’.” But there is to be no encore unfortunately.
However, it is widely believed Cambiasso didn’t leave the club purely because of Ranieri – it had an affect, but it wasn’t the sole reason.
The real reason why the midfielder has left the Foxes is because he has many offers on the table and he wanted a new challenge. Perhaps worried about the game time he may get at Leicester under Ranieri’s infamous rotation policy.
And at the end of his career, time is not on Cambiasso’s side. He will need to be playing regularly at this stage and maybe Nigel Pearson’s exit was the nudge the midfielder needed to move on.
Cambiasso enjoyed most of his success last season in a three man midfield. Pearson tried to play a two in the middle at times, but most of their late season success was when they played a 3-5-2 formation, which ultimately kept Pearson’s side up.
Cambiasso understands that at his age that the conditions need to be favourable for him if he is to flourish, and that doesn’t look to be the case Leicester as Ranieri prefers to play a variation of the 4-4-2 formation. The Italian manager binned the three at the back Inter were playing before he arrived, and a similar switch for the Foxes would not be the best option for a player who turns 35 next month.
It’s a huge loss for Ranieri and Leicester, and the Italian manager knows it, saying: “If he doesn’t come I need a new team leader.”
And even the midfielder admits that, that is a necessity too. Adding in his farewell note to the fans he wants “to give the club as much time as possible to find an alternative” to lead the team into the new season.
However, it could be argued that no matter how much time Ranieri has to replace the former Argentinian international, there simply isn’t another player out there who can replicate his impact on and off the field.
Nevertheless for Ranieri, he will have to make do, and maybe the signing of Charles Aranguiz for £10.5m from Internacional will be the replacement the Foxes are looking for.
Aranguiz would certainly help strengthen Leicester’s midfield following the departure of Cambiasso, as the Chilean international has real quality and put in some really impressive performances for Chile at the Copa America earlier this summer.
It would be a club record fee for the South American midfielder. who is set to be Leicester’s big name replacement for another South American and Aranguiz has very big boots to fill indeed.