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Leicester City

Leicester City will hope Kelechi Iheanacho can live up to price-tag next season

The Nigerian striker still has to prove himself at Leicester City.

Mathew Coull

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Leicester City played out a scintillating final game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, losing 5-4 at Wembley in a game where defending appeared to be abandoned. One of the highlights of the game was a magnificent strike from Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho. He picked up the ball from 25 yards out and fired a rasping left-footed drive into the top corner of Hugo Lloris’ goal. It was, simply unstoppable.

For Leicester fans, it was probably just as frustrating as it was pulsating to see this strike go in. Because every Foxes fan is acutely aware that this is what the Nigerian is capable of, yet he struggles to do it on a regular basis.

(Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)

In August last year, Leicester beat off a host of competition to sign the striker from Manchester City. According to ESPN, the Nigerian set the club back £25 million. But it was an investment in what is clear talent.

The former wonderkid had shown in his brief appearances for Manchester City and with the Nigeria senior team that he is a ruthless finisher in front of goal. If given chances, surely he would be a lethal Premier League striker.

But his application is often not at the right level. This season, Iheanacho managed just three goals in 21 Premier League appearances.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Yet this strike against Tottenham highlighted the fact Leicester have a potential star on their hands. He was brilliant in the Foxes FA Cup campaign, with four goals in five games. This summer he will lead the line for Nigeria at the World Cup and has a fine record with the Super Eagles.

Leicester paid £25 million for a player they hope can become a top talent. Incidentally, the 21-year-old’s middle name is ‘Promise’. If he can deliver on that next season, Leicester’s investment will not be in vain.

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Leicester City

Who is Leicester City’s new signing, Ricardo Pereira?

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Photo: Getty Images.

He may come to the Premier League as a regular in a league winning side set to travel to the World Cup as a Champions League regular, but few had heard of Porto full-back Ricardo Pereira when it was announced that terms have been agreed for him to join Leicester City.

The deal was confirmed on the club’s official website as the 24-year-old put pen to paper on a five year contract which will be confirmed on June 9th, when the international transfer window opens.

Yet, those who know Pereira well will not be surprised. The right-back was Claude Puel’s undisputed first choice at OGC Nice during his spell in France and was one of the first names on the current Leicester boss’ team-sheet week in, week out.

(Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)

Then, Pereira was deployed as both a right-back and a left-back, with his versatility being one of his biggest strengths in the eyes of Puel. Since then, he has added another dimension to his game, improving his attacking play and featuring in a more advanced role in midfield and even as a forward on the right hand side for Porto.

The Portuguese side have relied on the number 21 as they returned to the top of Liga NOS this season and his fine form has earned him a spot in his national team, adding to his two caps from 2015 with another in November and then being selected ahead of Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo for Fernando Santos’ World Cup squad to travel to Russia.

A strong dribbler who likes to overlap down the flank, he is a clear upgrade on Danny Simpson provided he can rapidly adapt to the pace and physicality of the Premier League.

With a WhoScored rating of 7.59 in 2017/18, Pereira is one of the most highly rated full-backs in Europe and possessed some of the best statistical returns in the world in his position. His signing for the Foxes represents a step in the right direction in the club’s quest to return to European football.

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Leicester City

Does Arsenal win justify stay for Claude Puel at Leicester?

Josh Kerr

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Claude Puel
Photo: Getty Images

Claude Puel helped Leicester secure their first win over Arsenal in 24-years on Wednesday night to round off their home campaign in spectacular fashion.

However, does the win do enough to justify why the Frenchman should stay at King Power for next season?

The Foxes ended a miserable run of five games without a win and six at the King Power Stadium by inflicting a first-ever defeat to the Gunners.

The victory, courtesy of goals from Kelechi Iheanacho, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, ensured Puel’s side now cannot finish lower than ninth.

After the win, Puel dedicated the final home game of the season to his Leicester supporters, despite many fans wanting a change of management in the East Midlands.

Puel took over from Leicester with the Foxes sitting third from the bottom – a position that had resulted in the sacking of Craig Shakespeare back in October.

Puel was a breath of fresh air for the former Premier League champions and got them quickly flying up the league table.

However, his poor form in recent weeks has also seen fans unhappy with his unimaginative style of play, and some have called for their fourth managerial change in just over a year.

The current Leicester boss found himself in an almost identical position last season when he was sacked by Southampton on the final day of the season, despite guiding the team to an impressive 8th place finish.

It comes as a cruel reminder to Puel that wins just aren’t enough in the modern game. Fans still want to see their team playing a positive brand of football that lifts them off their seats each weekend.

Puel’s obsession with results had clearly upset the Leicester dressing room, who looked jaded and unimpressed with the manager’s tactics in recent weeks, but Wednesday’s win may inspire the board to keep the 56-year-old in charge of the Foxes for next season.

Leicester can’t afford to keep going through managers and Puel’s style may not be the most imaginative, but the former Saints manager has dragged them up the table dramatically when they looked a serious contender for the drop just months ago.

The supporters need only look to Burnley for inspiration, with the Clarets recording a stunning seventh place finish that has secured them European football for next season.

Puel has an 8th and 9th place finish on his managerial CV, and supporters should be delighted with the progress made since his appointment back in October.

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English Premier League

David Wagner wouldn’t be a good appointment for Leicester City

Leicester look likely to replace their current manager before the 2018/19 season.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

The upcoming summer will be interesting to follow in England, as the Premier League has chosen to close the transfer window before the season starts.

With that in mind, it is important for clubs to get their business done early and there will be no room for hesitancy in the market.

Leicester City have had a trouble-free campaign, but they have lost four of their last five games and failed to score in their last three.

Claude Puel made an impact after taking over, but he may not be given the chance to lead the club into the 2018/19 season.

Last season, the Frenchman led Southampton to a top-half finish, but he was relieved of his duties due to a concern over the playing style.

A similar fate could be waiting for him once the season ends next weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, the Guardian reported that Puel was fighting to keep his job and the performances since wouldn’t have done him any favours.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

It doesn’t bode well for Puel that potential replacements are being touted in the media. The Daily Mail reported over the weekend that Leicester want David Wagner as their next manager.

The Huddersfield Town manager has done well in English football since taking over at the John Smith’s Stadium. He managed to get them promoted against the odds and is now in a good position to stay up in the top-flight.

Considering his increasing profile in the game, Wagner would be regarded as an exciting appointment by Leicester supporters. If he had been able to get Huddersfield to punch above their weight as a club, he could be the right man to take the Foxes forward and challenge for European football.

However, these reports need to be treated with caution as there are reasons why an appointment would be a bad move by Leicester.

One of the reasons why Puel has been unpopular with both Southampton and Foxes’ fans has been his style of football. It can be laboured at times and the creativity is lacking in the final third. Although his teams are mostly solid, they aren’t going to get you off your feet very often.

His Huddersfield team have scored only 27 Premier League goals, which is the joint-fewest of any club in the division.

Their goal difference is the second-worst after Stoke City. The size of the club has meant that a relegation fight was inevitable, but Wagner has hardly set the league alight with his coaching.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

There has been a lot written about Wagner’s connection with Jurgen Klopp, but his style of play differs from that of his good friend.

The Terriers have averaged 9.4 shots per game, which is the third worst of any team in the division. He likes his teams to play a passing brand of football, but their pass success rate of 74.3% ranks in the bottom six. At times, the Terriers would have benefitted from a more functional style.

This season has been a year of learning for Wagner. If he manages to keep Huddersfield in the top-flight, it will be considered a great campaign for him.

However, it has been clear that he isn’t the finished article yet and there is nothing to suggest that he would be an upgrade on Puel.

Leicester may decide to make a managerial change, but if they do, the current Terriers’ boss isn’t the right appointment for them.

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