Leicester look like landing Leonardo
The Foxes 14-year-old transfer record is set to be broken, after it emerged that the newly-promoted outfit were close to signing Brighton & Hove Albion striker Leonardo Ulloa for a fee in the region of £7m.
Ulloa, 27, netted 16 goals in all competitions for the south coast club last season, and has attracted the attention of Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson.
Having been identified as their number one striking option this summer, last term’s Championship winners have shown serious intent in pursuing the Argentine, and after four previous rejected bids, have now been successful. Brighton promptly withdrew Ulloa from their squad, who are currently on a pre-season tour of Spain.
Leicester’s previous transfer record involved Ade Akinbiyi who they paid Wolves £5.5m for in 2000. Brought in as a replacement for Emile Heskey, who moved to Liverpool for £11m, the striker failed to live up to expectations, scoring just 11 goals in 58 league appearances.
The club are currently at a pre-season training camp in Austria, though have been linked to number of attacking targets, as boss Pearson prepares for the Premier League. At 13/5 to be relegated next season, Leicester have a task on their hands, and have identified a number of options who could potentially assist in securing safety.
Cardiff City’s Frazier Campbell is the subject of a £600,000 transfer tussle, with the Foxes expected to scrap with Crystal Palace for the striker’s allegiance. Connor Wickham is also believed to be a target, after impressing for Sunderland towards the end of last term, and may tempt Pearson with a £5m bid.
Despite their pursuit of new forward talent, Kevin Philips, who accepted a coaching role at the club recently, after helping to fire the Foxes into England’s top flight, is impressed by Leicester’s current crop of strikers.
Speaking at the East Midlands’ club training camp base in Austria, the former frontman said: “I’ve put on my first training session and it was a bit strange not joining in. I was tempted to, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope the lads enjoyed it. Now that that one is out of the way, hopefully there are many more to come.
“I’m here to work with the strikers and I really enjoyed our first session, it was very sharp. All I want is hard work from the lads and to listen. They’ve done that for me,” continued Philips.
“We’re looking very good. I think all the coaching staff, the medical department and the sports science department are really pleased with the way the lads have reported back, and that’s to be expected.
“It’s an exciting time, and the majority of players here have never experienced the Premier League. So naturally they’re going to want to impress by getting fit and staying fit,” he finished.