In huge news that could dictate their transfer strategy for the coming years, Steve Walsh is nearing a move to Everton according to the BBC. He is the current assistant manager and head of recruitment at Leicester, but is expected to be given a director role on Merseyside, which appeals to him.
In May, he signed a new contract with the Foxes and it is a surprise that he is now set to leave. His rise in football has been incredible, as he went from being a P.E. teacher to one of the key men behind one of the best stories in the history of the sport.
The signings of Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kanté were vital to the club’s success last season, both of whom were recommended by Walsh. It is easy to see why Everton have made him a priority target to help introduce a new era at the club alongside Ronald Koeman.
For Leicester, this may alter their transfer plans, perhaps not immediately, with work already done this summer on their targets, but the downstream effect will be more visible. It will be interesting to see how Leicester react, as they will need to bring in somebody for both the coaching and recruitment staff. They may need to hire two men to replace Walsh, but they cannot afford to lose their momentum and need to deal with this as soon as possible.
The Riyad Mahrez saga continues to bring contrasting news depending which sites you read. The Leicester Mercury are carrying new quotes from Claudio Ranieri suggesting that no more star names will leave the club, and that Mahrez has not rejected the club’s new contract offer. After watching his side beat Oxford 2-1 to open their pre-season campaign, Ranieri said:
“Yes, I am confident Mahrez will stay,”
“Vardy wanted to stay and Mahrez the same. Only Kanté wanted to go. No other players go away. We stay together.”
If this is true, then it will be a huge boost for Leicester as Mahrez was brilliant last term. The reports suggesting he wants to leave must be coming from somewhere, and if a side does bid for Mahrez, things will get interesting. He fits in seamlessly to the Leicester side and they would struggle to get a like-for-like replacement.
It may also be better for him to remain at the KP Stadium, in order to gain some experience in the Champions League and produce another elite season. If he does this, next summer he will have his pick of clubs.
Another player who may be on the move is Jeffrey Schlupp, who is a target for West Bromwich Albion. The Express and Star report that Tony Pulis is willing to return after his initial £9 million bid was rejected.
Schlupp was not a regular last season, but he played a key part in the successful campaign. Leicester need to have a bigger squad to cope with the extra games, especially considering they were fortunate with injuries last season. He is a versatile player capable of covering the left-back and left-wing positions, which is why Leicester will be reluctant to sell.
West Brom are keen to add a first choice left-back, with Sebastien Pocognoli their only recognised first-team performer in this position. He may be moved on as well, making their need for a new left-back even more pressing.
Pulis likes Schlupp because he is powerful and has a great deal of pace, while his crossing ability makes him a good fit for West Brom. However, Leicester do not want or need to sell, which makes this a difficult deal for the Baggies to complete. They may need to go as high as £15 million, and could then turn to other targets as a result.
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