Ahmed Musa (att) CSKA Moscow; Nampalys Mendy (mid) Nancy; Ron-Robert Zieler (gk) Hannover 96; Luis Hernandez (def) Sporting Gijon; Yohan Benalouane (def) Fiorentina – end of loan;
N’Golo Kante (r) (mid) Chelsea; Andrej Kramaric (sp) (att) Hoffenheim; Jacob Blyth (att) Motherwell; Dean Hammond (sp) (mid) Sheffield United; Paul Konchesky (sp) (def) Gillingham; Ryan Watson (mid) Barnet; Jonny Maddison (gk) Yeovil Town; Marc Schwarzer (sp) (gk) released;
After a dream season that brought the most unexpected title of all time Leicester are now entering uncharted waters and the challenges ahead of Ranieri and his team are many. The Foxes will be eager to impress in their first ever season in the Champions League, but they also have to be very careful on the domestic stage because a repeat of last season’s fairy tale is unlikely and at the same time there will be pressure to achieve at least a top ten finish. The fact that the Italian manager decided to stay is a good enough reason for everyone to feel confident and also he is still relying on his big stars Vardy and Mahrez. The latter might still leave if another lucrative offer from Europe comes, but even if he leaves Ranieri already reacted as he brought in from CSKA Moscow Ahmed Musa. He is an agile striker that has vast European experience and is expected to lead the attack in the Champions League. Okazaki was also underestimated by many last season but the ability of the Japanese to play very well in at least four different positions makes him a perfect choice to fill gaps. N’Golo Kante is without a doubt the biggest name that left the club, but Ranieri was quick to replace him with a similar type of defensive midfielder coming again from France. Mendy will most likely be starting next to Drinkwater in the heart of the midfield, while Morgan and Huth will remain the preferred pair in defence. Fuchs and Simpson will be the main choice full-backs, while Schlupp is likely to be used in a more advanced role down the left flank and he is already putting pressure on Albrighton for a starting berth. Ron-Robert Zieler was bought to be playing in Europe, while Schmeichel will remain the preferred custodian on the domestic stage. The Foxes will continue to play compact football with explosive fast breaks and their hopes are that the effectiveness of their strikers, Leicester had the best chance created/goal ratio in the league last year, will continue into the new season.
The champions have no illusions that they can repeat this achievement, but a top six finish is a goal. However, many think that balancing between Europe and the domestic stage will prove hard and the common opinion is that Leicester will even struggle to finish in the top ten.