Universally regarded as a bad appointment, only a small minority, the bulk of whom have refrained to go on record, have been bold enough to predict Leicester will fare better under Claudio Ranieri than they did during the previous regime.
The prospect of the Foxes failing to escape the fate they so artfully dodged last time around almost immediately started to appeal to the punting masses upon the announcement that the Italian would be taking the reins and this growing consensus will only receive further support if the Tinkerman’s reported top target is signed.
A price of 3/1 says the former Chelsea boss takes the Midlands outfit down this season and the potential arrival of Carlton Cole, a former student of Ranieri at Stamford Bridge, won’t spark any sort of a drift.
It’s news that’ll have prompted exasperated groans from followers of the Premier League (as well as those of Leicester) who thought they’d bid good riddance to the former Chelsea, Aston Villa and West Ham forward when he was released from the east London outfit earlier in pre-season.
This is the second time the Hammers have severed ties with the seven-cap England international, having done so two summers ago before going cap in hand a few months later with their striker stocks desperately short.
Not that the Cole second coming made much of a difference; he added eight to a tally that fails to stand up to even the most average of Premier League strikers.
With no top-flight haul north of ten and a career total 15 shy of 100, despite notching 384 appearances, it’s difficult to envisage old Carlton’s mobile being in a perpetual state of vibration over the past few weeks.
Returning Ranieri, whose Greece side (winners of the 2004 European Championship) lost at home to the Faroe Islands (winners of very little in the history of time) in his last match in charge of a football team, is seemingly keen on putting an end to the former England man’s exile.
With Leicester’s forward ranks brimming – they’ve recently added Shinji Okazaki to a department already boasting Andrej Kramaric, David Nugent, Jamie Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa – it may be the case the former Monaco and Juventus chief wants to bring in Cole in order to maintain his policy of relentless squad rotation, the undertaking of which requires obscene numbers.
If this isn’t the motive behind the reported pursuit, it’s difficult to ascertain what is, as Cole is certainly not an improvement on those already on the Leicester books.