Brendan Rodgers wants a shake-up of his Leicester City squad this transfer window, and while little to no progress has been made so far, t. is still more than two months until the market closes.
But come the morning of September 2, what could City’s squad look like? Here is an overview for each area of the side.
It’s the only department of the squad to see some change so far, with City announcing that Eldin Jakupovic is to leave at the conclusion of his contract this summer. That means t. is a gap that needs filling.
Before then, City need to settle on what’s happening with their number one and his deputy. The club have been keeping their eye on the goalkeeper market, suggesting that Kasper Schmeichel’s time at the club won’t extend beyond the end of his deal next summer. A change between the sticks this window feels unlikely at the moment, given the need for transfers elsew..
Danny Ward has signed a new contract and so he will be sticking around as the number two, and then it’s a case of who backs up the Dane and the Welshman. Employing Daniel Iversen or Jakub Stolarczyk to do so, when t. is so much promise for the pair, seems unlikely, as their season will be better served out on loan getting game-time.
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In that case, the likeliest scenarios are that City will let development squad goalkeeper Brad Young provide back-up or they will dip into the market to find a veteran to fill the third-choice role. Tasking 20-year-old Young would have the benefit of saving money and saving a spot in the 25-man squad.
A new centre-back is a priority for City this summer, the club seeking a .er, preferably left-sided, in the mould of Wesley Fofana. They will likely be a straight swap for Caglar Soyuncu, whose future is in doubt with only one year remaining on his deal.
Speaking of Fofana, the Frenchman will not be going anyw. despite consistent links to the biggest clubs in Europe. He recently signed a new deal with City.
Jonny Evans is set to sign an extension to his deal to keep him around for more than the year he has remaining on his deal, while Daniel Amartey looks likely to be kept on as back-up. Jannik Vestergaard, despite declaring his intentions to fight for his place at City, may be left out of the 25-man squad if others arrive to fill up the spots.
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Very little work needs to be done in the full-back roles. Between Timothy Castagne, Ricardo Pereira, and James Justin, City have three top-level .ers for the two wide defensive positions, the latter two having recently signed new deals.
Then t. is Luke Thomas providing support on the left side, the academy product eligible for the Under-21 list for one more season. Ryan Bertrand may also be included in the squad as an experienced head, the left-back arriving into pre-season next week in the latter stages of his rehab from a serious knee injury.
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It’s the area that requires the most attention in the City squad. Rodgers has already asked for two new faces in t. and that might rise to three should a replacement for Youri Tielemans be needed.
Of the current squad, Wilfred Ndidi, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, and James Maddison are crucial, while Papy Mendy may be kept on as a .er Rodgers has faith in to do a job. But Hamza Choudhury is heading for the exit, t. may not be the patience in Boubakary Soumare to afford him a place in the squad, while Dennis Praet is unlikely to want a reprieve at the club.
A box-to-box midfielder, who can protect the back-line and then surge through the lines with the ball at feet, is wanted, while a high-pressing type with good numbers of goals and assists would also work well in Rodgers’ system. Then it’s a matter of what happens with Tielemans, as his ball-.ing ability feels too crucial to the team’s success for him not to be replaced should he move to Arsenal or elsew..
Harvey Barnes is the star man on the left, while Marc Albrighton, as one of the .ers Rodgers relies on to set the standards at the club, will remain an option, if not a first-choice one. Then it’s about signings, with City short of .ers out wide, especially if Ayoze Perez leaves, as is possible with just one year remaining on his contract.
Ademola Lookman will be targeted as a .er to provide competition on both flanks, but principally on the left, w. he produced his best football during his loan spell. A fee of £14m is required to bring the Nigerian international back.
But he is not the big priority out wide. Instead, the focus is on bringing in a new right-sided winger to take the threat level of City’s attack to new heights.
In Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Patson Daka, City have three .ers who are all able to contribute goals and assists at an excellent rate. While Vardy and Daka have the speed to run off the last man and utilise space in behind, Iheanacho provides something different as a .er who can drop deep and link . with the midfielders.
What City don’t have within that group is a big man, and that’s perhaps why Rodgers is keen to look at George Hirst this summer. The 23-year-old stands at 6ft 4in and will be given a chance in the summer to show if his qualities can provide City with an extra string to their bow.
A spot in the squad would be need to be made for him, but if an under-21 goalkeeper is used to provide support for Schmeichel and Ward, t. may be an opportunity for Hirst to stick around. That feels dependent on his performances in pre-season.
City’s potential 25-man squad (* denotes would qualify for under-21 list)
Goalkeepers: Schmeichel, Ward, Young*
Centre-backs: Evans, Fofana, Amartey, new centre-back
Full-backs: Ricardo, Castagne, Justin, Bertrand, Thomas*
Central midfielders: Ndidi, Mendy, Dewsbury-Hall, Maddison, new box-to-box midfielder, Tielemans replacement, new high-pressing midfielder
Wingers: Albrighton, Barnes, Lookman, new right-sided winger
Strikers: Vardy, Iheanacho, Daka
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