Leicester fans will be starting to get sick of this transfer window as a new club gets linked to one of their key stars every day. Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Kasper Schmeichel and N’Golo Kante have all been linked to numerous clubs and it would be a massive statement of intent if they manage to keep hold of all four.
Claudio Ranieri would have known just how difficult this summer was going to be, as he attempts to build a squad capable of challenging both at home and in Europe. The European Championships provides some respite for champions as transfers are a lot less likely to happen over this period, especially involving players at the competition.
Riyad Mahrez, the PFA player of the year, hasn’t been at the centre of as much transfer talk as either Jamie Vardy or N’Golo Kante. However, he has spoken about his future and stated that he is flattered to be linked to Arsenal. The Evening Standard carries these quotes from Mahrez, who was speaking at a Nike event in Paris:
“The season went very well.”
“As you know, we have won the league which was very important. It is incredible. It was by far my best season in my career.”
“It is flattering to hear (about links to other clubs), as I said nothing is agreed, nothing is done.”
“For the moment I have not made a decision. We will see. It is possible that I stay, it is possible that I leave. We will see.”
This will concern Leicester fans, as Mahrez was central to their attacking play last season and was voted the league’s best division. He has the flair and unpredictability that Leicester will need in Europe. They will go in to most matches as the underdogs and Mahrez has the ability to produce a moment of magic out of nothing to win the Foxes the match.
At the age of 25, he has a lot of time to develop further as a player and you would expect the Champions League would aid him in that. It would be a huge blow to lose him, and he would be difficult to replace, but Leicester would be able to generate a lot of money from his sale, if he is to leave.
Another player being linked with a move away is Kasper Schmeichel, who is a transfer target for Everton. There is going to be big changes at the Merseyside club with Ronald Koeman set to be appointed as the club’s new manager, while there will be a big amount of money invested into the squad.
The Mirror, taking the story from the Sunday People, state that they see the Danish goalkeeper as being part of the rebuilding process. Leicester are in talks with their number one to give him a new deal, but if they lose any of their key players, he may be tempted to make the switch to Everton.
Leicester did sign an international goalkeeper in Rob-Robert Zieler last month, who would be seen as a ready-made replacement for Schmeichel, but that doesn’t mean they will want to lose their title-winning goalkeeper.
In terms of incomings, according to reports in Portugal, Leicester have pulled out of the race to sign Sporting’s Islam Slimani. The Leicester Mercury report that the champions aren’t willing to meet the striker’s €30m release clause, while Sporting won’t sell for less.
The striker himself is believed to be looking for a move away from the Portuguese club this summer. Leicester may be willing to go back in for the striker, if Vardy does depart over the coming months.
The Algerian is a very good striker, who has scored lots of goals during his spell in the Liga Nos. Last season he found the back of the net on 27 occasions in 33 matches. This is an unbelievable strike-rate, and he will want to test himself in a bigger league.
He would add goalscoring instinct to the Leicester attack, as he often finds pockets of space in the final third. He would be a very good addition, who also has experience in the Champions League, but a move looks unlikely at the moment.
Finally, Football Italia are carrying a report, taken from La Nazione, that Leicester are tracking the Fiorentina attacking midfielder Josip Ilicic. The 28-year-old scored 13 goals and got five assists in Serie A last season, and is a genuine attacking threat.
He is a free kick specialist, and would give Leicester an extra dimension in the final third. The fee being rumoured is €15m, and that could prove to be a great price for a proven, experienced midfielder.
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