Primarily because of the impact of profit and sustainability rules, there has been little movement in the transfer market in this window. As an indication of this paucity of activity, Sky Sports News seemed to spend most of its deadline day coverage pretending that Lewis Hamilton’s move from Mercedes to Ferrari has got something to do with football.
Leicester City did not buck this trend and, when the window slammed shut at 11 pm on Thursday evening, there were no incomings and only one outgoing, the loan move of goalkeeper Daniel Iversen to Stoke. In the only other bit of business, Luke Thomas after returning from an ill-fated spell at Sheffield United, was quickly dispatched out again to Middlesborough. As Foxes of Leicester previously reported, it looked likely that City would secure the signing of the Inter Milan’s midfielder Stefano Sensi. He was at the club's training ground from mid afternoon for a medical but it was reported after the window had closed that a deal could not be agreed with the Italian club. Looking at social media after this news was announced, Leicester fans appeared baffled, and not a little angry, that the deal was off despite the fact that the Foxes interest in Sensi has been known about for weeks. Not for the first time, Director of Football John Rudkin has received most of the flak.
On the surface, this transfer window seems like a failure for the Foxes, not least because their promotion rivals have strengthened their squads. There was certainly a case – in light of Cesare Casadei’s recall by Chelsea and the long-term injury to Wilfred Ndidi – for strengthening the midfield. In an ideal world, two additional players in this position would have been welcome. In the event, Leicester got none. In addition, fringe players, most notably Danny Ward and Harry Souttar, might have moved on to create space in the squad for new arrivals. According to Sky’s Rob Dorsett, Leicester understandably refused to countenance the sale of the centre back to promotion rivals Leeds United.
However, in rating City's transfer window activity, context is everything. The general view of football pundits is that Leicester’s squad is already by far the strongest in the Championship. Although several senior players – including James Maddison and Harvey Barnes – left in the summer, the Foxes did hold on to a core of established Premier League players and they have delivered in the Championship. With LCFC clear at the top of the second tier, it is difficult to argue that the club needed to invest heavily in this transfer window. More to the point, financial regulations would seem to have presented a real obstacle to the club, and were probably behind the failure to reach agreement with Inter. Enzo Maresca has said all along that for players to come in, others would have to leave, presumably accompanied by a fee. The Leicester boss will surely be disappointed, though, that the club couldn't get the Sensi deal over the line, and what a way to treat a professional footballer.
Ultimately, Leicester fans should be consoled by the club's decision to keep hold of all their best players. Given the inevitable speculation surrounding the futures of Kelechi Iheanacho, Patson Daka and, more recently, Kiernan Dewsbury Hall - their continued presence at the club is a mark of success that hopefully will see the Foxes back in the Premier League next season.