There are only 4 weeks to wait ‘til the start of the Premier League. Over the next few weeks @0riginalfooty will preview the new season, take a look at each team and offer our predictions as to where each side will finish. Here we take a look at Leicester.
Leicester cruised to victory in the Championship last season, finishing 9 points clear of Burnley and only losing 6 matches. They are a side backed by wealthy Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprbha who has promised great riches to be spent on the Midlands side but they are yet to make any great waves in the transfer market.
Nigel Pearson returned for his second spell in charge of Leicester City in 2011 having fallen out of favour with then owner Milan Mandaric in his previous time in charge. In his first full season as boss he guided them to the playoffs and last year he masterminded a relatively comfortable title victory. He is yet to have been a fulltime manager in the Premier League so this is a new challenge for him.
Leicester are yet to really make a big splash in the transfer market and have only brought in new faces on free transfers thus far. Matthew Upson, the former England international, has been drafted in from Brighton, goalkeeper Ben Hamer from Charlton and Jack Barmby from Manchester United. Their biggest signing to date has been that of Marc Albrighton from Aston Villa. Albrighton enjoyed an impressive return to the Villa side, having struggled with injury in previous seasons, and it was a surprise to see the side from the West Midlands let him go. Their loss will be Leicester’s gain and they will be looking forward to seeing the tricky winger in action.
Who is tipped to join them?
Leicester are set to break their transfer record by signing Brighton striker Leonardo Ulloa for around £7 million. A fee has been agreed so Leicester fans can expect to see his arrival in the coming days. The Foxes are also battling it out with Queens Park Rangers to sign Steven Caulker and Fraizer Campbell from relegated Cardiff City. Finally, Nick Powell has been mentioned as a possible target to join from Manchester United on loan.
Who should they sign?
Nigel Pearson has been keen to stress that he believes his squad is good enough to survive in the Premier League as it is but there is very little top-flight experience amongst his players and that must be a concern. Matthew Upson and Paul Konchesky are experienced defenders but both are long past their best and don’t inspire confidence at this level so another proven defender could be an option such as Brede Hangeland. In addition to this, Leicester’s strikers are inexperienced in Premier League football and the step up can often prove to be too much. Fraizer Campbell is a sensible pursuit in that regard.
Kasper Schmeichel. The son of the great Peter Schmeichel was impressive when he first burst on to the scene for Manchester City and was unfortunate to be replaced in the side by Joe Hart. Schmeichel has since plied his trade in the lower leagues but will be prepared for his Premier League return. He could be the difference as to whether the Foxes survive or are relegated.
Nigel Pearson may be convinced his side can survive in the league this season without reinforcements but I’m not. Unless Leicester can add some real quality to their squad they will almost certainly return to the Championship at the end of the season. I feel they are likely to miss out on a number of their targets due to interest from QPR and relegation beckons. Expect Leicester to finish 18th.