In Focus: Cunning Foxes swift to beef up their squad
Leicester are making a habit of going under the radar.
The Foxes have moved swiftly to build on their FA Cup triumph and finishing fifth in the Premier League, adding Ryan Bertrand, Patson Daka and Boubakary Soumare to their ranks for a combined £40million.
In fact, the powers that be at the King Power Stadium are almost single-handedly busting the myth that this summer’s market is a seller’s one.
As Brendan Rodgers prepares his troops for another attempt at breaking into the top four, we run the rule over Leicester's recent transfer business and highlight where they still need to strengthen.
Finding Vardy’s heir
Jamie Vardy’s party will eventually come to an end.
The 34-year-old missed four consecutive matches for the first time in his Leicester career during the 2020-21 campaign.
He started the season in blistering form, scoring 11 goals in his first 13 outings, but the Leicester No9 netted just four times in 2021 and two of those arrived on the final day.
Kelechi Iheanacho stepped up for the Foxes and scored 12 league goals — a career high. But it was clear Rodgers needed another attacking option and that is why Patson Daka was signed for £23m.
The 22-year-old is a pure goalscorer and an assassin in the penalty box, much like Vardy.
In his final season with Red Bull Salzburg, he scored 27 times in just 28 games — and seven of those appearances came off the bench.
He is explosively quick and Leicester no doubt intend to have him replicate the way Vardy fits into the side.
In the short term, Daka will ease the burden on the former England international — and that can only be beneficial for the player and the club.
Developing a future England star
Luke Thomas may have made his debut for Leicester during the 2019-20 season but it was not until last term that he really started making a name for himself.
The 20-year-old made the most of injuries to James Justin and Timothy Castagne to finish the season as the team’s starting left-back.
He also scored a memorable goal in the win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, further enhancing his reputation as one to watch.
Some may believe the signing of Bertrand on a free transfer will stunt the development of Thomas.
When everyone is fit, the young full-back could have the former Southampton man, Castagne, Justin and Ricardo Pereira ahead of him in the pecking order.
But if anything, Bertrand fills the void left by the departure of Christian Fuchs. The 31-year-old forrmer Chelsea and Southampton man is an experienced Premier League player and can no doubt help Thomas improve his game.
It is another move that benefits Leicester in both the short and the long term.
Strengthening from a position of power
Not long ago, the belief was that Soumare’s £17m arrival from Lille all but guaranteed the departure of Youri Tielemans.
But reports have recently emerged claiming the Belgian maestro, 24, is considering a lucrative contract offer from the club and his stay at the King Power could be extended.
Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi made a formidable partnership in the middle third last season.
The addition of Soumare will only cement their dominance in that area of the pitch, with the Ligue 1 winner sharing traits with the pair.
He is a destroyer and reads the game superbly. When compared with midfielders across Europe's top five leagues last season, he ranks in the 85th percentile for interceptions with 1.82 per 90 minutes.
Premier League-winning captain Wes Morgan called time on his career at the end of last season after nearly 10 years with the Foxes.
Though he made just 14 top-flight appearances in his final two years with the club, he will need to be replaced in the squad.
Leicester have been linked with Schalke 04 centre-back Ozan Kabak.
The Turkey international, 21, spent the latter half of the 2020-21 campaign on loan with Liverpool, where the Reds had an option to make his move permanent but opted to sign Ibrahima Konate instead.
An alternative solution might be to move Jonny Evans into the supporting role previously occupied by Morgan, before bringing in someone younger to mould into a long-term starter.
Depth in attack
Leicester’s squad lacks balance when it comes to depth and this is most evident in attacking areas.
The addition of Daka means they have cover for Vardy and Iheanacho but the Foxes are short of options in their more creative roles.
Marc Albrighton could be on the move and that would leave them with just Harvey Barnes to occupy the wide areas after the sale of Demarai Gray in January, while Cengiz Under’s loan move has not been turned into a permanent one.
Bringing in someone with a similar profile to those players would be beneficial if Leicester are to sustain a charge for the top four.