5 moves Leicester need to make in January transfer window
Leicester’s start to the season has been extremely encouraging.
Despite their additional Europa League commitments and several top-level injuries, the Fox have managed to keep pace with the squad of teams dreaming of qualifying for the Champions League.
Their impressive form on the pitch has also been paralleled with progress away from home. On Christmas Eve, the Foxes moved into their new £ 100million training ground, which features 14 full-sized pitches and a series of other state-of-the-art facilities, including a golf course nine holes.
As they are still footing the bill for their new home, expensive arrivals are unlikely during the January window. However, that doesn’t mean Leicester should rest on their laurels. Here are five moves the club should consider making next month.
Due to a series of defensive injuries, Christian Fuchs, 34, and Wes Morgan, 36, ended up playing many more games than Brendan Rodgers would have wanted this season.
Both players’ contracts expire this summer and neither of them appear likely to sign any new terms before then.
In January, Leicester could get a head start and target a new, younger center-back as their fourth pick behind Wesley Fofana, Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans.
Who it could be is a bit of a mystery. They have long been linked with Burnley’s James Tarkowski and while the England international is said to be keen on making a move, Burnley would likely demand a gigantic transfer fee – especially mid-season.
Phil Jones is a much cheaper option, with Manchester United set to let him go on loan in January.
The huge five-year contract that Islam Slimani signed in August 2016 finally comes to an end this summer.
During his time at the King Power Stadium, Slimani only played 47 times in all competitions, making more appearances on loan than for Leicester.
This season, even with his team’s extra games in the Europa League, he has received a 19-minute cameo. It’s clear Rodgers has no plans to keep him after the end of the season, so the Foxes should try to get him off their books in January.
It shouldn’t be too hard. While things haven’t worked out for him at Leicester, the Algerian’s record is pretty good.
Look up “unrealized potential” in the dictionary and you’ll find a photo of Demarai Gray.
Over the past four and a half seasons – yes, it’s really been that long – Gray has shown flashes of promise, but struggled to consistently produce a solid statistical result.
In more than 150 appearances for the Foxes, he has recorded just 30 straight goals. It’s less than one every five games.
Last season he seemed to settle into an impact substitute role, averaging 4.2 shots creating action every 90 minutes, but that term he barely featured. He’s another player who has no future and if Tottenham’s interest is real Leicester should break hands.
It wouldn’t be a transfer window without the Leicester stars being linked with a move away from King Power Stadium.
More recently, talismanic midfielder Yuri Tielemans has been the name mentioned – although this information was quickly denied by Rodgers.
Soyuncu, Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison also remain targets for top European clubs.
In order to get into the top four, you have to end the sales cycle for one key player per season, and that starts with keeping a grip on all of their talents in January.
Leicester are only one injury away from Jamie Vardy of having Kelechi Iheanacho in the lead for the rest of the season.
Additionally, other than Ayoze Perez, foxes possess terribly little strength at depth up front. Harvey Barnes’ brief cameo at the center-forward against Arsenal in October further revealed their need for additional reinforcements.
Due to their financial constraints, a loan move with an option to buy could be their best bet.