Preparations for the 2023/24 season are well underway at Seagrave with just over a month until the curtain-raiser against Coventry City. Leicester City fans have been buoyed by the double signing of Conor Coady and Harry Winks, but will still expect a few more fresh faces to come through the door. On Monday afternoon, the Italian manager sat down in front of the press for the first time as Foxes manager as he was quizzed on transfer window prospects, season targets, and past experiences.
Leicester City’s transfer window prospects
City were always set for a major rebuild this summer, whether in the Premier League or the Championship. With multiple players out of contract and a handful of players wanting a new challenge, this summer was always going to be a reshuffle. That rebuild is well underway as seven of the playing personnel have left at the end of their contract and Maddison has departed for Tottenham, while Leicester have brought in Coady and Winks. But the general understanding between the club and the fans is that Leicester’s summer transfer business will not stop there, with fresh links emerging each day.
"“It’s difficult, when the market is open, anything can happen. At the moment, seven players had their contracts expired, Maddison left, and some more players can leave. But at the same time, if players leave, we can bring in more players.“[On targeting Manchester City youngsters] We’ll see. They are not our players, so I don’t think it’s correct to talk about them. The market is long. There are many weeks. We’ll see,” said Maresca."
For a fairly young manager, Maresca has had his fair share of positive experiences. After brief spells as assistant manager at Ascoli, Sevilla, and West Ham United, the Italian was appointed manager of the Man City development squad in which he won the PL2 title within his first season.
The Italian’s success caught the eye of Serie B side Parma who appointed him, but after failing to manufacture a promotion bid in his opening months, Maresca was sacked. He returned to Man City as assistant manager to Pep Guardiola and since then has won everything there is to win in England.
"Maresca said:“[On his time at Man City] I always try to learn as much as I can. Last year was the same. It was an unbelievable season. We achieved almost all the targets. I try to learn every day, here and there. You want to know if we will play the same way? It’s that idea, but as I said, it’s not tomorrow. It’s a process. The idea is to try to play one way, but that requires time. Hopefully we can do it as quick as possible.“[On his time at Parma] I think we were on the right path, but in the end, you cannot control other people’s decisions. I learned many things. After an experience, you always try to learn things. We were on the right direction. This was just something about the past.”Maresca’s season targets"
The obvious target for Maresca will be to take Leicester City back to the top tier of English football at the first time of asking. But many Leicester City fans will be acutely aware of the difficulty of achieving promotion from the second tier, having spent ten seasons out of the Premier League the last time they were relegated.
Maresca has also demonstrated that he too is aware of the difficulty of the task, suggesting that if the Foxes do not achieve promotion then they will build for the next three to five years.
"Maresca said: “We all know the targets. The most important thing is to go step by step. Now, it’s to create the right squad with the right players, or at least with players we feel can fit the idea. Then it’s to create something important, then to build. The club deserve something different. To be honest, because I know quite well the idea, I like to talk about the process to get promoted. If it’s this year, hopefully, if not, it’s important to build for the next three or five years.“It’s a complicated league because many teams they are fighting to be promoted. You can win in different ways. To see the squad we create, then we will see the way we will try to achieve our target. We need to adapt. The Championship, it’s different from the Premier League. If we don’t have that, it will be a bad thing."
When questioned whether not getting top six would be a failure, Maresca said:
"“I am completely relaxed. Because the most important thing is day by day, build a good squad. Then we will see what happens. To think about May, it’s too far.”"