How Leicester City became the shrewdest club in the Premier League

Kacper Wilkins
Kacper Wilkins
6 Min Read

Leicester City

Portrait of former Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Results won on the pitch are influenced heavily by the relentless efforts of the backroom staff, who ensure the progression of a club like Leicester City FC.

Very few clubs function so frictionlessly as the Foxes do. Since their arrival to the top tier of English football in the Premier League, they have not only managed to stick around regularly each season but also have won the League miraculously with sheer will, grit and determination.

Why do other teams lack the perseverance to do just that? Why is there no reproduction of another story like that of Leicester City? What makes the tale of this club so unique?
To understand all of it, we need to go beyond the lush green of the King Power Stadium to the backroom offices, where the management magic happens.

Leicester City’s player recruitment

The East Midland’s side has unearthed some of the brightest gems by their player recruitment system. While recruitments like Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and N’Golo Kanté have earned the most praise in hindsight, many other players were equally influential in positioning the club as a certified threat.

After the title win, the management couldn’t cling to their Championship side. Annually an impactful player left the King Power for a large chunk of money that made the club self-sufficient to improve its infrastructure. Losing of talent meant replacing it quickly, and that’s where the club scouts made the impact.

Jon Rudkin is the Director of Football of LCFC; he is the watcher who watches over the recruitments alongside the transfers. Below him in the hierarchy are Lee Congerton – Head of Senior Recruitment, Callum Smithson – Head of Technical Scouting, Sean St. Ledger – Senior Scout, David Mills – Senior Scout, Philippe Pelluault – France/Belgium Scout. Of course, not every player that precipitates through this funnel has been spot on, but more often than not, they have. That is where the club has established itself as an elite in its businesses.

Like for like, that’s the way

As mentioned earlier, City has never been shy of letting someone leave when they want to move out. That has made the club lose out on talents like Mahrez, Kanté, Drinkwater, Maguire, and Chilwell. Nonetheless, they have always been quick to seek under their scouting radar to find worthy replacements.

Whether it be James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans, or any John Doe, they have found good players to replace their departing counterparts. Another impressive trait of City is that their negotiating tactics. The management never pays any astronomical figure to acquire any player. They only spend economically on the talented and young. Generally, those players that are unknown in the big club’s plucking zones.

There have been a few French and Belgian recruitments happening for the Foxes; the reason for it is Philippe Pelluault, who is responsible for scouting in French and Belgian football divisions. The players who come from the English football leagues are courtesy of David Mills and Sean St. Ledger, who are senior scouts.

Our identity

City likes to invest in players who generate enough spark and bank on their potential. It’s similar to the approach that Borussia Dortmund takes. Thus far, the system has worked splendidly. A few famous scouts have left over the years, one being Steve Walsh, the man to bring in Vardy, Mahrez, and Kanté. But new scouts have done good in terms of business and getting results with their recruitments.

Alongside LCFC’s transfer system, our academy system also works brilliantly. Academy graduates like Harvey Barnes, Hamza Choudhury, and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall are set to take over larger roles in the next season. Homegrown talents are worth a lot to a club. Moreover, Leicester’s new state-of-the-art training facility at Seagrave only pushes this dream further into reality.

A lot of players are linked to the Foxes in this transfer window, and the announcement of two delightful signings is on the horizon. With more expected deals to happen before the season starts, Leicester City fans are excited more than ever to disrupt the system and take a swing to crack the top four ceiling.

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