Five players Leicester should sign to help them battle on all four fronts
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | April 12, 2016
Leicester City have now secured a top four berth this Premier League season, and thus will play Champions League football next campaign – they’ll make the group stages automatically if they stay at least third.
While Claudio Ranieri will not be looking too far ahead, as he still hopes to finish the job and lift the title, the prospect of the Foxes having to take part in four competitions in 2016/17 means he will certainly be keeping tabs on potential transfers.
Although the Italian has the likes of Andrej Kramaric, Yohan Benalouane and Tom Lawrence to call back from loan, and young talent such as Ben Chilwell, Joe Dodoo, Liam Moore and Demarai Gray to utilise more, the club know they need to further bolster their ranks.
So, as Leicester (100/1 to win the Champions League next term) aim to avoid being a one-season wonder, Coral pick five players that would add more numbers and quality to their squad…
Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro – Toulouse
It appears that the Foxes are resigned to losing the engine of their team N’Golo Kante at the end of the season, with the player stating that he is flattered by all the interest from top clubs around Europe.
So, with the France international likely to go for a decent amount of money, as he was only bought last summer, Leicester will surely have to find a like-for-like replacement to ensure they keep their successful style.
Ivory Coast midfielder Akpa-Akpro, brother of Shrewsbury Town’s Jean-Louis, fits the mould as he is second only to Kante this season in Europe’s top five leagues in terms of tackles made, and even has a higher success percentage than him.
The 23-year-old’s versatility also means he is able to play in defence and either side of midfield too.
Sofiane Boufal – Lille
There is a chance that Riyad Mahrez could also jump ship at the end of the season, and who could really blame him if the likes of global giants Barcelona are lurking?
Whether he does go or not, Leicester can’t always expect to rely on the Algeria international for goals and assists in so many competitions again, so they could look to France-born Morocco attacker Boufal.
It may be tricky to lure the 22-year-old to the King Power with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City all reportedly monitoring him too, but the Foxes need to get used to battling the supposed bigger clubs in the transfer market now.
With eight goals and four assists in Ligue 1 this term for Lille, Boufal would certainly be a useful asset in the Premier League, after other players from France, Kante and Mahrez, successfully transferred their skills to Leicester too.
Josip Ilicic – Fiorentina
Another who would be a great addition in attack is Slovenia’s Ilicic, who has been prolific for Fiorentina this term.
The 28-year-old has been recently linked with a move to Leicester this summer for around £11.5m, and Ranieri can use his links with the Serie A side he managed for four years in the mid-1990s.
Ilicic is tall in stature, at 6ft 3in, and is a dead ball specialist, which would further enhance the Foxes’ skill set.
Aleksandar Dragovic – Dynamo Kiev
Leicester were linked with defender Dragovic in January, but pulled out as Dynamo Kiev asked for £25m, £9m more than they had hoped. However, they may go for him again this summer.
Robert Huth and captain Wes Morgan have been fantastic at the back this term, but have not had much competition and if one were to get injured then they could be in trouble facing the likes of Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Dragovic could also be swayed to join the Foxes by his Austria national skipper Christian Fuchs, who is unlikely to be moved from left back next season.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Arsenal
If Leicester want a proven Premier League player, with plenty of pace to complement their already rapid and fit side, then Arsenal and England winger Oxlade-Chamberlain would be a great capture.
Injuries have limited the 22-year-old’s playing time at the Emirates in recent seasons, and the emergence of Alex Iwobi and Joel Campbell, as well as Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott already in his position could force him to find another club.
The Gunners would perhaps not command too much of a high fee for the 24-capped Three Lion either, and the deal could be ideal for all parties involved.