Leicester and Rodgers to push for Premier League top six next season?

Leicester City

As a club, Leicester City has had more anguish to deal with this season than most.

Back in late October, the club’s 60-year-old Thai owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, along with four others, including the pilot, died when his helicopter crashed to the ground shortly after takeoff from the King Power Stadium.

Srivaddhanaprabha had just watched his team draw 1-1 at home to West Ham United before then attempting to make his usual helicopter trip back to his home in London.

A grey cloud covered the club over the following weeks with the playing staff all attending their previous owner’s funeral in Bangkok.

On the pitch, it has to be said that Claude Puel’s team managed to battle on, going undefeated for the next six games once they returned to action.

However, Puel’s time began to run out at Leicester in 2019.

After a run of seven defeats in nine games, the former Southampton boss was finally dismissed after Leicester fell to a heavy 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace in February.

Brendan Rodgers was hired in his place with the lure of Premier League football management too much to turn down for the then-Celtic boss.

Rodgers’ Leicester has only lost twice – away to Watford and home to Newcastle – in the nine games the Northern Irishman has been in charge for. The team has won six and drawn one of the other fixtures.

This period included a four-game winning streak which saw The Foxes climb back up the Premier League table.

Leicester are currently third in the PL’s form table, just behind the two runaway leaders, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Leicester’s next game gives Rodgers’ team an opportunity to do a huge favour for his old club, Liverpool, in the title race as they travel to face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.

The Foxes are currently 8th in the league, three points behind the hugely impressive Wolves team who were only newly-promoted from The Championship last summer.

The gap between Leicester and an elusive top-six spot is currently 14 points. Does Rodgers have enough faith in his managerial abilities to close that void next season? You can be sure he does.

A lot will depend on what business they can do over the summer break.

Jamie Vardy, although reinvigorated since Rodgers’ arrival with 10 goals in 9 games, is already 32. Their backup striker, Shinji Okazaki is 33, making Kelechi Iheanacho the only striker on the books who is under 30.

At the back, Christian Fuchs, Danny Simpson and Wes Morgan probably don’t have too many years left in them while Kasper Schmeichel is also pushing on at 32.

The good news for Rodgers and Leicester, however, is that there is also plenty of young talent currently mixing with those more experienced pros.

Danny Ward is a very competent reserve goalkeeper who will have his eyes on Schmeichel’s starting place next season.

Ricardo Pereira, Daniel Amartey, Harry Maguire and Nampalys Mendy are all players who had a lot of quality to Rodgers’ squad.

The most exciting players on Leicester’s books are Wilfred Ndidi, Ben Chilwell, Demarai Gray, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans.

Tielemans, in particular, is a vital cog in how Rodgers’ Leicester play. The Belgian international midfielder is still only 21 and joined The Foxes on loan from AS Monaco in January.

With three goals and four assists in his 11 PL games so far, Rodgers will be keen to sign him up on a permanent deal should the opportunity arise during the summer.

Maddison, Barnes, Tielemans and Gray are all young, creative players who Rodgers would love to get a chance to take under his wing for a couple of seasons at least.

If he does manage to keep the current squad together while adding some more quality and depth, then the PL’s top six may not be out of reach for Leicester City in the next few years.

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