Leicester City have faced their greatest exodus in recent memory, and the task to rebuild is great. Here is an update on targets and what we think of them.
After unclogging the drain by removing former head coach Brendan Rodgers and enlisting Italian manager Enzo Maresca, the King Power side will begin draining the swamp of weak, lacklustre, and disloyal characters. Furthermore, the Foxes will start signing on new players to energise the team.
One of those who is expected to move on following the departure of James Maddison is Harvey Barnes. The English left-winger would be sold for a solid fee, providing plenty of financial lift for any changes Maresca may wish to make to the side. Barnes is an explosive, devastating player yet inconsistent, a sale could be costly in the long term.
How Leicester City replace Barnes
It will be difficult for Leicester to adequately replace the academy product, with few wingers of that explosive style and devastating quality available in the market. The situation is further exacerbated by our being within the promised lands of the EFL Championship.
Nevertheless, the Foxes have identified a couple replacements. Of note at the moment is West Bromwich Albion’s Grady Diangana – an English forward who can perform on both sides of the pitch. Although not too flashy, there are certainly benefits to Diangana.
The priority in a Maresca-ball system would be the creation of opportunities, and – in the Championship – this is something which the English left-winger does offer in abundance. 3.78 shot creating actions per 90, with Barnes by comparison only netting 2.09. A lack of creativity is not what we need; although the pace and acceleration are things we would like.
The ‘Baggies’ acquired the wide playmaker for a fee of around £12m, so we would not be expecting an £8m signing on fee. I would expect somewhere around £15-20m depending upon the insistence of the player on the move.
Honestly, Diangana is one I wanted many seasons ago, someone who can be a defensive asset, a high pressure asset, and an attacking threat. As such, I would like to say Leicester would do well to bring in the 25-year-old, especially as he reaches the prime of his career. At the same time though, the Foxes do need to focus on youthful talent that can improve immeasurably under the Italian head coach, as well as then being resold for a much higher value.
Speaking of a youth focus
Daniel Amartey and Jonny Evans have departed – though we hope Evans will choose to remain with Leicester City for another campaign – and Connor Coady has been recruited. The centre-back situation is mostly sorted, and with Jannik Vestergaard still at the club, it is a wonder whether or not they actually need to bring in more defenders. Plus there are plenty of capable youth replacements to be promoted.
Anyway, should a sixth defender be wished for, then it seems LCFC have made their decision on who they would like to sign. Manchester City U21 player Callum Doyle is within the crosshairs of the Foxes. The defender offers an impressive upgrade on Evans, while also replacing the missed Wesley Fofana.
Doyle is one of then best young defenders for progressing the ball, creating chances for midfield runners and even attackers. This English youngster is not just a defensive juggernaut, constantly putting in challenges and interrupting attacking plays, but a creative threat to produce attacking plays.
Manchester City value the defender around £10m, which seems like a fairly low price for someone already so mature, so impressive, and with a likely high growth to that value in the future. I think anyone reading this can tell my opinion on this possible transfer: sign him up as quickly as possible.
Doyle and Diangana would provide Championship experience, established quality, and higher sell on fees post-promotion. They would offer something Leicester City have not had for a long time: depth. Well, I suppose Diangana would not be much depth considering we would still only have Marc Albrighton if Barnes were sold, otherwise Diangana can replace ‘Kevin’ and play with Barnes.