Improbably perched atop the Premier League with five a point-buffer between themselves and second place, Leicester City don’t even have to win all of their remaining seven matches to be guaranteed of the title.
There aren’t many neutrals who don’t want the 1/2-rated Foxes to finish the job, but there’s a sinister side to their success story that may well be revealed in the coming months.
The probability of green-with-envy big guns usurped in Leicester’s rise to supremacy and foreign suitors observing from afar using their superior financial power to prise away those deemed chiefly responsible grows with every additional win Claudio Ranieri’s men record.
Riyad Mahrez has been linked with clubs as prestigious as Barcelona in recent weeks, while Danny Drinkwater, N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy have been subject to similar treatment.
But should Foxes fans fear a ransacking? The fortunes of surprise league winners say it’s not important who they lose…so long as it’s not the manager.
Blackburn Rovers – 1994/95
Unarguably the most Leicester-like example of the previous Premier League winners, Rovers lost no player of note after winning the title.
David Batty departed for Newcastle United, but he had only featured five times the year before. However, Kenny Dalglish quitting as manager was costly – they came seventh in 1995/96.
Wolfsburg – 2008/09
Die Wolfe lost their manager immediately after claiming their only Bundesliga title too, with Felix Magath walking out to join Schalke.
Despite boasting formidable striking talent in Edin Dzeko and Grafite, they kept the bulk of their stars together, but could only finish eighth in defence of their crown.
Montpellier – 2012/13
Star marksman Olivier Giroud was signed by Arsenal, but the Frenchman’s fellow Ligue 1 team of the year members Hilton, Younes Belhanda and Henri Bedimo remained.
They didn’t lose their coach either, but their divisional crown wasn’t retained; La Paillade finished eighth, some 31 points behind champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Lille – 2010/11
Rudi Garcia’s LOSC side were one of two unlikely league winners who were raided, losing captain Yohan Cabaye to Newcastle, Gervinho to Arsenal and star centre-back Adil Rami to Valencia.
The rest of Lille’s leading lights – Eden Hazard, Mathieu Debuchy – followed a year later.
Amazingly, they managed to finish third in 2011/12 even with a decimated roster.
Atletico Madrid – 2013/14
Los Colchoneros took a La Liga bronze medal the season after overthrowing Barcelona and Real Madrid and, also akin to Lille, they lost many of their main men, namely to Chelsea.
The Blues bought Diego Costa and Filipe Luis, as well as recalling on loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, whom Atleti had moulded into a superstar.
Crucially though, they kept boss Diego Simeone and remained competitive in the title race.
Based on this evidence, losing Ranieri would be far more devastating for Leicester than allowing Mahrez, Vardy or Kante to leave.