How shrewd Leicester transfers made them £450million

The official Leicester City club badge outside the King Power Stadium (Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)
The official Leicester City club badge outside the King Power Stadium (Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images) /
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Leicester City
The official Leicester City club badge outside the King Power Stadium (Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images) /

As the World Cup approaches and the Premier League has been put on hold, it’s a good time to reflect on how far Leicester City have come since the turn of the millennium. From their stunning Premier League title to the three historic European campaigns, the Foxes’ rise under the Srivaddhanaprabha family has been staggering.

Today, the focus shifts on the stunning business the club have done to establish themselves as an elite club, specifically in terms of transfers. After a summer of disappointing deals – or lack thereof – it’s healthy to remember how many big calls the club has gotten right. So, without further ado, here are the three ways Leicester City have mastered the transfer market.

Made in Belvoir Drive

The key to any successful team is a strong academy. Nothing is better than seeing an academy prospect turn into a first team regular, especially when they are Leicester through and through. Those players don’t just provide good stories, but they allow the club to make a deeper connection with the fans.

However, when an academy player wants to leave, the club can still benefit. This isn’t always the case, and a club can’t grow if their academy players leave at the first-given opportunity, but it only takes one big deal to make the club a significant amount of money. In Leicester’s case, they’ve had two.

The first, and most notable, is Ben Chilwell. The left back joined the academy at the age of 12 in 2009 and worked his way through the youth ranks, earning a high reputation and winning the academy player of the year in the 2014/15 season.

The Milton Keynes-born defender started breaking his way into the Foxes’ first team, eventually taking over from Christian Fuchs as the starting left back in the 2017/18 season. His growth continued and eventually he earnt the first of his 17 senior England caps in 2018.

Eventually though, fans started to see Chilwell’s commitment and joy for the club starting to fade, as well as the levels in his performances. As ever, the Foxes had been savvy in handing him a new long-term contract in 2019, so when Chelsea came calling in 2020, it took a fee of nearly £50m to get his services; a real coup for Leicester as they had James Justin ready in the background.

Chilwell’s fee was such that it can be argued he has overshadowed the successful sale of Jeffrey Schlupp. A versatile player, Schlupp started to make is mark at Leicester in the 2010-11 season having worked his way through the academy.

Deployed on the wing and on the defence, Schlupp was a consistent figure in the Championship for the Foxes and played his part in the Premier League ‘Great Escape’, as well as the Premier League winning season. After the league win however, Schlupp found it harder to fight for his place in the team, with Crystal Palace eventually signing him in 2017.

Whilst not an eye-watering fee, the Foxes were still able to get £12m for their former youth player and Schlupp has gone on to have an enjoyable career with Palace and on the international stage with Ghana.

These two sales, alongside the smaller deals done for academy players, have helped establish Leicester City as having the 24th most profitable academy in the world (this was noted during a survey conducted by the International Centre for Sports Studies earlier in the year, with over 71m Euros generated in academy player sales).