Not only must Premier League winners Leicester City replenish their ranks to deal with the physical exertions of a maiden Champions League campaign, but the Foxes may have to also replace 24-goal striker Jamie Vardy during pre-season, who is the subject of a potential £20m move to Arsenal.
Still, despite these detracting factors, the bookies have significantly trimmed their title odds from the 5000/1 they stood at 12 months ago.
Punters can back Claudio Ranieri’s men to retain their crown at a slightly more modest 20/1 and here are some necessary transfer steps they must take in order to land the odds.
Sign – Theo Walcott
Regardless of whether Vardy stays or goes, Leicester should be chasing his turbo-charged, occasional England colleague.
Tailor-made for the counter-attacking modus operandi the Foxes utilised so magnificently last term, Walcott’s searing pace and finishing skills bear strong resemblance to those their first-choice line leader possesses.
Leonardo Ulloa currently plays first reserve to Vardy, but his style is far removed from the high-speed England ace. Walcott’s arrival would mean that, if their talisman stayed, they wouldn’t have to drastically alter their game plan if he was absent. While if he left, they could carry on with the same strategy.
Sell – Danny Simpson
With such a small squad built around a six or seven key players, it’s difficult to identify which player Leicester should sell.
Upgrading in certain positions, however, is essential and Simpson must be considered the weak link in the Foxes’ back four.
As a Premier League winner, he’ll fetch a higher transfer fee than ancillary right-back Ritchie De Laet (whose insignificance is underlined by the fact he was loaned out for the team’s title run in). It’s safe to assume there are plans to move the Belgian on, but keeping him as the backup plan and shifting 29-year-old Simpson while the time is nigh makes more sense.
Keep – Gokhan Inler
Owing to the brilliance of Danny Drinkwater and, in particular, N’Golo Kante, Inler was unable to break into the Leicester team during his first campaign.
But with chasms of experience at both continental and international level to call upon, the Swiss enforcer will prove invaluable next term.
His importance will grow even more so if Kante departs. Already ingratiated into the dressing room and well-rehearsed in the team’s style of play, he’ll seamlessly slot in while the Frenchman’s replacement acclimatises.