TOM COLLOMOSSE: Leicester’s FA Cup exit exposes the scale of the rebuild facing Brendan Rodgers this summer… James Maddison and Harvey Barnes may have to be sold and, with eight players out of contract, the turnover will be huge
- James Maddison and Harvey Barnes may be sold to help fund a summer rebuild
- Eight players are out of contract and are not good enough to remain in the squad
- Leicester’s squad requires a huge overhaul this summer – provided they stay up
There is nothing like the sound of booing to focus directors’ minds and the reaction of their fans told the Leicester board that a huge rebuilding job lies ahead this summer.
Only 10 places separate Leicester and Blackburn, chasing promotion from the Championship, but the Foxes’ second string would do well to finish mid-table in the second tier. Very few would command a spot in an enterprising Rovers side, whose 2-1 win at King Power Stadium on Tuesday booked their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time in eight years.
While boss Brendan Rodgers is far from blameless in this season’s struggles, he has been calling for the squad to be refreshed ever since Leicester were beaten by Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup in January 2022. Under new recruitment chief Martyn Glover, it has to happen now.
‘We’ve got a really important run of games ahead and if we can have that determination and fight to match some of the quality we have, we will win the games we need to, but it’s going to be a fight, that’s for sure,’ admitted Rodgers. His team have a huge game at fellow strugglers Southampton on Saturday, which feels like the sort of fixture that could define their season.
‘We have to win as many games as we possibly can. We’re in a position where we’re by no means safe. We have to make sure we get enough points to stay up here. The reality is we haven’t been at the level this season.’
Leicester’s lack of strength in depth was exposed in their 2-1 loss to Blackburn in the FA Cup
Brendan Rodgers has been calling for the Leicester squad to be refreshed for over a year
Harvey Barnes is among Leicester’s key assets but could be sold to help fund a squad rebuild
If Leicester stay up – and as they are only three points above the relegation zone, that’s far from certain – then the turnover will be huge.
James Maddison and Harvey Barnes are the prize assets and both may be sold to fund a rebuild, but there are eight players out of contract and others who are plainly not good enough.
It is hard to imagine Boubakary Soumare, Luke Thomas or Patson Daka playing a significant part in the future if Rodgers stays in charge.
Daka and Soumare were two of the signings of the disastrous 2021 summer recruitment campaign, when Jannik Vestergaard and Ryan Bertrand also joined. That was about £60million effectively thrown to the wind and Leicester simply cannot afford to make the same mistake again.
A new goalkeeper is required urgently as Danny Ward does not look up to the task in the top flight, while at least two new centre backs are needed with Jonny Evans – who, fitness permitting, deserves another year – Caglar Soyuncu and Daniel Amartey out of contract.
Central midfielders Youri Tielemans, now out for six weeks with ankle ligament damage, and Nampalys Mendy will be free agents in the summer and though Jamie Vardy’s contract does not expire until summer 2024, it is clear that, at the age of 36, Leicester’s greatest-ever player is a fading force.
So that is three centre backs, another full back, two midfielders, a winger and a couple of strikers on the list. Not to mention a replacement for the inspirational Maddison if he departs.
Little is ever certain about the transfer market but one thing is for sure – Glover will be one of the busiest men in European football this summer.
Patson Daka was among Leicester’s signings during their disastrous summer window in 2021
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