Leicester on the verge of finally making signings worthy of champions

Leicester on the verge of finally making signings worthy of champions

Having banked £30m from the sale of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea, which they would have preferred not to happen, Leicester are still in the black this summer despite adding six players, the most expensive being forward Ahmed Musa for a relatively-paltry tally of around £16m.

Compare that to Crystal Palace’s most expensive purchase of the window, Christian Benteke from Liverpool for £27m plus add-ons, and it would be tough for the uninitiated to guess which side are the Premier League champions and which finished 15th.

That may be about to change though, with Algeria striker Islam Slimani the latest to leave international base camp to discuss a move away from Sporting Lisbon, who reportedly value the 28-year-old around the £30m mark.

It’s not hard to see why within the current out-of-control transfer market, as Slimani bagged a whopping 27 goals in Portugal’s Primeira Liga last term.

He was kept off top spot by a supreme effort by Benfica’s veteran Brazilian Jonas, who matched his age with 32 efforts, but the last player to score more than either was Mario Jardel’s 42 with Sporting all the way back in 2001-02.

A raft of expensive strikers have passed through since, including Jackson Martinez and Radamel Falcao in recent years, without managing more than 26, so Slimani’s achievement is noteworthy.

His capture would add some experience of scoring in Europe to the Foxes frontline, with three goals in eight Champions League appearances over the past couple of campaigns, but this might not even be Leicester’s biggest deal on deadline day, nor their most important.

With Musa already added to complement forwards Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki, up front didn’t seem to be the area in greatest need of strengthening by boss Claudio Ranieri, while Kante’s loss in midfield is surely severe.

Nampalys Mendy was initially brought in to replace the France international, but now it seems Slimani’s Sporting teammate Adrien Silva is the subject of a £38.5m Leicester bid.

There’s a premium on Portugal internationals that played at Euro 2016, as Silva did after Fernando Santos’ side’s drab group-stage draws, but it’s good to see Ranieri finally means business, if a little late in the day.

Leicester are 80/1 to retain their Premier League title, 40/1 to win the Champions League at the first time of asking and 9/1 for a top-four finish.

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