Leicester City FC are in big trouble. A really big one. I fell in love with this club when they did the near impossible in the 2014/2015 season. For several months, they looked certain of dropping down to the Championship once again. A 5-3 win against a Manchester United that paraded a certain Angel Di Maria was mind-blowing. In that match, they were two goals down on two occasions, yet they dug deep to get a deserved win. It was a painful loss, but it gave those guys the awareness they deserved.
A couple months after the turnaround against the Red Devils, Leicester City were in a big mess. By February 2015, they were relegation favourites, getting battered every time they played. My love for Esteban Cambiasso, the veteran Argentine midfielder, made me follow these guys, but each time I watched them, I only felt pity. Well, that was until they turned it all around and managed to win 7 of their last 9 games. They ended the season comfortably in 14th position, but the season ending form was just a precursor of things to come.
The 2015/2016 season started on a bad note, with the hugely popular Nigel Pearson getting replaced by Claudio Ranieri. That didn't sit well with most supporters, but no crystal ball would've seen what beauty that was about to unfold. N'golo Kante was acquired from Caen to strengthen the midfield; veteran defender, Robert Huth came in from Stoke City to complete a team that will surprise the world and lift the Premier League. Jamie Vardy became the main man up top by usurping the lovable Leonardo Ulloa. He made sure of that with 24 goals. Riyad Mahrez was a menace, turning the best left-backs the league had to offer inside-out on his way to the PFA awards. The Kante-Drinkwater midfield was made to defend deep and hit on the counterattack, with the tireless Marc Albrighton whipping dangerous crosses to the box from the attacking left to no end. I bet most football lovers can easily name Leicester's first 11 from that season without leaving out a single player. They were famous, and those were good times.
However, that was six years ago. They've done relatively well since then, but they are facing a tough reality this season. Of the 20 Premier League teams, Leicester City are the only ones yet to sign a player this season. It would've meant nothing if they were hugely successful last season, but that isn't the case. They won just 14 of their 38 games last season (36.7%) and ended it with 52 points. That's far away from their recent laudable feats. To compound their woes, most of their top players are substantially linked to different clubs. They rejected two offers from Newcastle worth around £40M for James Madison in the last week. Youri Tielemans is still mentioned in the same breath as Arsenal and Manchester United. Wesley Fofana is getting serious admiration from Chelsea. And Harvey Barnes? There are rumours.
I woke up just now to the news of Kasper Schmeichel joining Nice. Needless to say that I am very unhappy. Why would they let go one of the most important voices in the dressing room? With no significant signings, are they willing to rely on Danny Ward for the season? If Newcastle eventually get Madison and another of their top talents leave without a serious replacement, they may be in trouble.
Don't get me wrong, they won't be battling relegation with the likes of Forest and Bournemouth. But, with Newcastle strengthening considerably, Leicester may be out of the top 10 by May 2023. That is surely a dreadful proposition, and they may spiral downwards from there. Becoming a Premier League champion takes years of serious planning. Ending up in the Championship is equally a result of years of woeful planning. Leicester may be unknowingly laying the foundation for that dreaded return to the second tier.