Claudio Ranieri saw Leicester City’s record signing Ahmed Musa net a brace in the Foxes’ 4-2 International Champions Cup loss to Barcelona, but the Nigerian’s place of prominence in the club’s record books may not last long.
It has this week been reported Ranieri has unlimited resources with which to strengthen his squad for their Premier League title defence and first dip into Champions League waters.
History tells us the veteran Italian requires minimal encouragement to spend freely once given carte blanche with someone else’s chequebook.
These lavish shopping trips have yielded their fair share of expensive duds, but another fantastic campaign looms for Leicester if they allow Ranieri to splash as much cash as he desires.
Over his lengthy career, the 64-year-old has twice come into contact with incomprehensibly wealthy benefactors.
The first was a short-lived fling with Roman Abramovich in the first season that followed the Russian buying out Chelsea.
Ahead of the campaign in question, 2003/04, Ranieri lured no fewer than 13 players to Stamford Bridge, spending a reported £111.15m in the process.
Among the better buys were Damien Duff (£17m) and Claude Makelele (£16.8m), though the combined £30.8m shelled out on Juan Veron and Adrian Mutu provides a sizeable black mark against this scattergun strategy.
Despite the frenzied nature of this particular transfer policy, the squad Ranieri assembled enabled Chelsea to finish second in the Premier League and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. It was a pair of feats that, at the time, represented the Blues’ best in either competition.
Dmitry Rybolovlev was the second exorbitantly rich Russian to cross paths with the Italian, this time at Monaco.
Ranieri was tasked with pulling Les Rouges et Blancs clear of the Ligue 2 mire in which they resided upon Rybololev’s takeover.
He did so at the first attempt and ahead of Monaco’s first season back in the top flight, the well-travelled coach was allowed to sign who he pleased. In accordance with the form shown at Chelsea, he duly splurged over £100m on Colombian twosome Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez, with further funds made available to sign eight other players.
The heavy outlay yielded instant results, with the principality club securing second place in Ligue 1, booking a place in the Champions League as a result.
Leicester’s prospects of winning a second straight league title have been widely dismissed, but if Ranieri is allowed to spend at will in the coming weeks, their chances of landing an 11/2-rated top-four finish can’t be ignored.