As another Premier League season emerges onto the horizon, the suspected relegation contenders have been busily working to improve their squads ahead of next season. Leicester have proven to have plenty of ambition as they arrive back into the top flight, but have they got enough about them to avoid relegation next year?
They will enter into the Premier League for the first time in a decade, and the anticipation levels at the King Power Stadium are reaching all-time highs! Nigel Pearson led his side through a quite spectacular campaign last season, in which the Foxes appeared to be scoring goals for fun. Netting 83 times, their ‘goals for’ column was only bettered by the efforts of Derby County. No one could match them in terms of points however, as they finished with more than 100 up, at a colossal 102.
Supporters and staff alike know that there will not be as many victory-laden days next season as there were last, although the club are still hoping to stage a realistic bid for survival. They are not expected to drop their attacking impetus either, as Leicester aim to score enough goals to keep them in the Premier League at least until next year.
Having looked at the success of Southampton and Swansea in particular over recent seasons, Pearson is expected to deploy an attacking, entertaining brand of football at Leicester next year. He will do so with a strong squad brought up from the lower league. Jamie Vardy and David Nugent will face the most pressure to step up to the task at hand, but the midfield will also be key. The likes of Danny Drinkwater and Matty James will have to prove as effective next year as they were last, if Pearson is to expect his side to do well.
Of course, Leicester will not solely be relying upon their Championship squad, and they have bought well in the transfer window so far. The former Brighton striker Leonardo Ulloa is their stand out purchase, and a lot will be expected of the Argentine, who is himself making the difficult step up the leagues. The Foxes have raided the south coast for experience as well as energy, however, and Matt Upson represents a very sensible buy. The former Stoke, West Ham and Birmingham man knows all about a Premier League battle for survival, and as he enters into the latter stages of his career, he will be especially keen to prove himself at the top level one more time.
Though they have bought well already, however, recent speculation linking Esteban Cambiasso with a move to the newly promoted club could become one of the most significant transfer stories of the summer. Though the legendary Argentine has never tried his luck in England before, there are few in world football who can match him for general experience, and there are few who have operated at the very top of the game for such a long time. If Leicester get him, they will have done very, very well.
Pearson will be keen to stress that Cambiasso is not a necessity, however, as he prepares to put faith into the squad which won promotion. From Kasper Schmeichel in goal to Nugent on the frontline, Leicester outplayed the entire Championship last year quite convincingly. Their manager will hope that their previous dominance will translate into a decent attempt to stay up.
Really, there does not seem too much reason to condemn Leicester to immediate relegation at present. They’ve bought well, they’re looking to continue to buy well, and they have an effective group of players at their core. Can they beat Manchester City? No. Can they beat West Brom, Hull City or any of the other ‘bottom half of the table’ teams? Probably yes.
Can they avoid relegation? They definitely can, as long as they can cope with losing a lot more games!