The 2021 summer transfer window could be different from the last few for Leicester City.
The Foxes have been praised for their work in the transfer market in recent years. They were the club who bought Champions League and Premier League winners N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez from the French leagues to England.
Other signings like Wilfred Ndidi, Jonny Evans and Youri Tielemans followed. This time last year, City brought Timothy Castagne and Wesley Fofana to the Premier League with both players slotting into the team seamlessly.
But there has also been another trend. Since winning the Premier League title in 2016, City have made one big sale in every summer window.
First it was N’Golo Kante to Chelsea, then Danny Drinkwater to the Blues, Riyad Mahrez was sold to Man City in 2018, Harry Maguire to Manchester United in 2019 and Ben Chilwell was sold to Chelsea last summer.
But City didn’t let the players go for cheap, the five deals over the last five years have bought in a total of around £257 million, much of which has been reinvested back into the squad.
Despite the sales, progress has still been made on the pitch. City have been challenging for the Champions League for the past two seasons, missing out on the final day on both occasions, while the 2020/21 season saw the team make history by lifting the FA Cup for the first time.
Therefore, going into the summer window, there is again speculation over the future of a Leicester City player.
Midfielder Youri Tielemans was City’s standout player last season, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by City’s rivals. Both Liverpool and Manchester United have been credited with an interest in the Belgian who was named the club’s player of the season.
City are hopeful of agreeing a contract extension with the player who has two-years remaining on his deal at the King Power Stadium.
And this is the summer where the club can change the pattern and prove they are no longer a feeding club to the ‘big six’.
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Talking after the FA Cup victory last month, manager Brendan Rodgers outlined how the success could help City keep hold of players.
“I think that historically, Leicester are maybe not up there with the biggest clubs,” he said. “But certainly from a football perspective we would consider ourselves being in that process of being a big club.”
Arguably City are now ahead of the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal in the clubs’ respective progress.
But it’s not just the progress on the pitch. The new Seagrave training ground which opened last year will only be an advantage in both attracting and keeping hold of players. The center is said to be a ‘world leading’ facility.
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Tielemans is becoming a key player for his national side while at City, despite the array of talents on offer to Roberto Martinez, and while it may not be Champions League football, City will again be playing European football next season.
Rodgers has previously highlighted the difference in spending power between the ‘big six’ clubs and City, but that is not to say that the players don’t get rewarded handsomely at the club while City are in a position of not having to accept any bid that they deem below their valuation of a player.
Having spent around £40 million on a permanent transfer for Tielemans two seasons ago, Liverpool or United will have to dig deep should they want to temp City into cashing in this summer.
Leicester will look to make it third time lucky in the race for the Champions League next season and the progress both on and off the pitch means that they have now gone past being a ‘feeder club’ for the teams they are competing against.