With the 2021/22 season over and dusted off, it’s the silliest time of the year for sportswriters and fans alike. It’s time to try to figure out who the Foxes will bring in for next year’s campaign. If the last twenty-five years have taught me anything, it’s that:
- Most of the rumors linking us to players are nonsense.
- One person’s idea of which positions the team is looking to fill, no matter how sound their reasoning, is also nonsense.
- None of the prices listed for any of the players bear any relation to reality.
- Even though it’s a wild ride to do all of this, it’s a lot of fun and we’re going to do it anyway.
The first job when we try to determine who might be a target for the club is to determine where we have a need. Last year it was easy: we needed a striker, a right winger, a left-back, a central midfielder and, when Fofana’s leg broke, a centre-half. Lo! And here it is: we actually bought players who could be placed in these positions.
Unfortunately, some of those purchases didn’t go particularly well. Amendola Lookman isn’t exactly a right-handed striker, Ryan Bertrand has been injured most of the year and ineffective at left-back, Boubakary Soumare hasn’t lived up to Rodgers’ expectations and Jannik Vestergaard doesn’t was not cut out to play the Leicester top line. favorite. Patson Daka had a largely successful debut campaign, so at least we can (probably) cross “striker” off the list.
So where do City need to strengthen the squad next year?
Let’s start with the most obvious: the right.
Ademola Lookman had a successful loan spell at City and it looks likely the Foxes will try to buy him on a permanent basis. The problem? It’s just not very effective on the right (we said so when we recommended it last year). Only one Leicester player has enjoyed his debut on the right side of midfield: Marc Albrighton. We like it GOATbut we hope that we will fix this problem and that this position will not be at the top of our shopping list next year.
Next up is another of our usual suspects: the left-back.
I remain optimistic about Luke Thomas’ development in this role, but he’s not the finished product yet and would benefit from regular playing time under less dire circumstances. To be honest, it’s a role where I suspect what we’re looking for is a veteran stopgap rather than a prospect. It may sound like “Ryan Bertrand”, but it’s not quite that. Someone who can step in and start the majority of matches and, if not excel, at least not be an obvious weak point.
The position that worries me the most: Central midfielder.
We got Fofana back, which puts us in a better position. Recovering Fofana would be any club in a better place. But, Evans is a year older, Söyüncü looks set to leave, the gaffer won’t use Vestergaard and Amartey is more willing than able. I think we need two centre-halves; preferably a “veteran leader” type and an up-and-coming.
Yet another familiar need: central midfield.
The emergence of Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall reduces the urgency here, but that’s offset by Soumare’s failure to earn the manager’s trust. Add to that the probable departure of Youri Tielemans, the almost certain departure of Dennis Praet and the fact that, despite the best football he has ever played for us, Nampalys Mendy is simply not a starting midfielder, and this is another area where two bodies may be needed: a box-to-box guy and a deep playmaker/secondary defensive midfielder.
And finally… the jokers!
Are we strongly tied to certain players who don’t fit any of these roles, or are there specialist roles we might need help with even though the position is already filled? What if Kasper leaves? The answers to these and other questions will be revealed in the coming days!
So I think that’s what we need. What do you think? Are these the areas where the Foxes should be looking to improve the club? Let us know in the comments!