Leicester taking promotion momentum into transfer window
Nobody can accuse Championship winners Leicester City, 15/8 with Coral to be immediately relegated, of resting on their laurels in the summer transfer window as they plan for their first Premier League campaign in a decade.
Foxes boss Nigel Pearson has already got four new recruits for next season, as the East Midlands outfit made hay while the sun was shining this week.
Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Ben Hamer, ex-England defender Matt Upson, and wingers Jack Barmby and Marc Albrighton are all arriving at the King Power Stadium on free transfers.
Each of this quartet of early captures look to be sensible, solid signings, not least because they cumulatively cost absolutely nothing.
Number one Kasper Schmeichel has reportedly agreed a new deal to stay at Leicester, so Hamer’s arrival may not impact upon that, despite some scaremongering in certain sections of the media.
Four-year contracts for both a decent second-choice stopper and wide midfielder Albrighton are signs that Pearson is being given sufficient security to know he can build a squad.
The latter’s arrival also offsets the anticipated exit of long-serving winger Lloyd Dyer with much younger legs.
At 35, Upson will be getting one last crack at the Premier League after a career that has taken him to Arsenal, Birmingham, West Ham and Stoke, among other destinations.
Pearson has also shrewdly extended Poland international Marcin Wasilewski’s deal by another year, so his defensive strategy surrounds placing faith in experience.
Further forward, meanwhile, the Foxes’ plan is to give recent products of the Manchester United academy a platform to perform.
Not content with midfield pair Danny Drinkwater and Matty James, Pearson has now taken teenage wideman Barmby, son of former England player Nicky, from Old Trafford.
Leicester manager Pearson is also rumoured to want frontman Fraizer Campbell, yet another ex-Red Devil, in a cut-price deal from recently relegated Cardiff City.
A fee of just £1m is the reported bid made for his services, and the prospect of staying in the Premier League looks more attractive than trying to bounce back under Bluebirds boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Campbell would join Foxes top scorer David Nugent, talented Kiwi striker Chris Wood and veteran Gary Taylor-Fletcher as attacking options for Pearson, if a deal can be struck.
These front men all fit into the ‘experienced Premier League football before’ bracket, although the up and coming Wood has had minimal exposure to top-flight action.
It should not escape our notice that the four new faces brought to the King Power for next term are all homegrown players.
Pearson is not all about the best of British, with the odd foreign player sprinkled throughout his squad, but Leicester, who are odds-on at 2/5 to stay up next term, look far from finished when it comes to summer signings.