Leicester City are in the midst of a tough end to the season, having lost three of their last four games against teams that they would have been hoping to pick points up from.
The Foxes now face both Arsenal and Tottenham in two of their last three games of the season. With confidence low among players and fans, and with questions hanging over the head of manager Claude Puel, the end of the season could be one full of turmoil.
Leicester are in no danger of being sucked into the relegation dog fight this season, with the worst case scenario seeing them finish just below mid-table, while the best case will see them finish as high as 8th.
Leicester’s owners have made no secret of the fact that they are aiming for European football for the club, and some fans see this season as a ‘missed opportunity’ in order to challenge 7th placed Burnley for that European spot.
Whatever happens at the end of the season, it is obvious that Leicester need a good transfer window in order to keep building and hopefully challenge for the top-six spots in 2018/19.
Captain Wes Morgan is 34 years old, and many fans are in agreement that while he has been a brilliant servant to the club – he made history by being the first Leicester City captain to lift the Premier League trophy – he shouldn’t just be able to walk back into the team after an absence.
Aleksandar Dragovic performed really well in Morgan’s place when he was injured earlier in the season, and many fans think that he was harshly treated when he lost his place to the captain.
Dragovic is on a season-long loan from Bayer Leverkusen, and Leicester do have the first option to make his move permanent in the summer. The Foxes should take up that option straight away, but whether the Austrian would accept a permanent move due to a lack of game time this season is still to be seen.
Right back Danny Simpson is arguably one of the best defenders at the club – there is no one better at defending the back post. But while the former Newcastle man offers defensive solidity, he is not natural at playing the modern full back role and struggles in attacking areas.
Since the arrival of Claude Puel in October, he has been keen on his full backs getting up the pitch and helping in the final third, and while Simpson has tried his best to adapt to the new system, it’s just not his game.
Puel has experimented over the last couple of games by playing winger Marc Albrighton in Simpson’s role, but playing a player out of his natural position is not a long term solution.
If Leicester are looking to continue to play in the same way, then they will need to invest in an attacking right back over the summer. They have been heavily linked with Porto’s Ricardo Pereira for a fee of around £22m, which could be an indication that the club are willing to back manager Puel in the transfer window.
The Foxes may be looking at other areas to strengthen, such as the wings and the number ten position, although Kelechi Iheanacho has improved throughout the season. A full pre-season with Leicester will benefit the young Nigerian.
As well as working to bring players into the squad, Leicester must also work hard to keep the nucleus of the team together. Having seen off interest in star player Riyad Mahrez over the last two transfer windows, it is likely that the club will have to let the wantaway player move on during this window. Because of this Leicester will not want to lose any other players, with England defender Harry Maguire and Nigerian midfielder Wilfred Ndidi already being reportedly watched by the ‘big boys’ in the league.
Both should appear at this year’s World Cup in Russia, and their performance on the big stage could peak the interest of other clubs. But as Leicester have previously shown with Riyad Mahrez, they won’t be pushovers when it comes to selling their best assets.
Whatever happens at the end of the season and during the summer months for Leicester could determine their aims for 2018/19. Have a successful window and there is no reason why Europe shouldn’t be in their sights, but an unsuccessful one could have them looking over their shoulder towards the bottom of the league.