HomeFootball NewsWhat went wrong for Leicester City and can they bounce straight back...

What went wrong for Leicester City and can they bounce straight back up?

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Only seven years ago Leicester City were crowned Premier League Champions in a 5000-1 triumph against the odds. Following that tremendous success, an FA Cup and the Community Shield followed under Brendan Rodgers.

Only two seasons ago, the Foxes were travelling Europe in the Europa League. However, the foundation of this well-built club was not strong enough to avoid being relegated to the Championship. So, where did it go wrong, and can they come straight back up to the top flight?

The Downfall

In the spring of 2019, Leicester began building their new £95m training ground. With such a big amount of money being spent on this brand-new infrastructure, and the fact that Covid-19 then hit, it left City with a lack of funds to invest in their playing squad. Last summer also saw top class talent leave the club, as goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and young defender Wesley Fofana both departed. Neither of the two were replaced sufficiently.

Leicester’s new number-one goalkeeper became Danny Ward who has been at the club since 2018. Two new centre-backs in Wout Faes and Harry Souttar were signed but neither had proven Premier League quality. This resulted in Leicester having a much-weakened squad last season. One which ultimately was not strong enough for Premier League survival.

Another factor in the downfall was the lack of a finishing touch up front. In the Premier League combined, Jamie Vardy and Patson Daka only scored seven goals between them. Most of the goals came from winger Harvey Barnes (13 goals) and James Maddison (10 goals).

At the beginning of April, a huge call was made. Sitting 19th in the table, Leicester parted ways with manager Rodgers. With only 10 games remaining, it was a big gamble. Dean Smith, Craig Shakespeare and John Terry were brought in as the new coaching staff. In the eight games they took charge of only nine points from a possible 24 were gained.

It was not enough for a great escape like Leicester had pulled off in the 2014-15 season under Nigel Pearson. With no great quality added, a late managerial change and their forwards not scoring, it left Leicester facing the disaster of dropping out of the Premier League.

The Bounce Back

Even with everything that has gone wrong for Leicester over the last couple of years, there can be optimism for the future. This begins with new manager Enzo Maresca, who was Pep Guardiola’s assistant last season in their treble-winning campaign. The Italian coach has previously been a manager for Parma back in 2021 and Manchester City’s under-23s side for the 2020-21 season.

The vital learnings that Maresca has picked up from Guardiola will be key for the next stages of his career at his new club.

However, key players have already left this summer. Both Youri Tielemans and Caglar Soyuncu left after their contracts expired, then main man Maddison left for a fee of £40m to Spurs. It is also looking likely that Barnes will be going back to the top flight with a move to Champions League side Newcastle United.

This has meant huge quality has departed the squad but moves in the market have already been made. Two Englishmen in Harry Winks and Conor Coady have dropped from Premier League clubs to the Championship to join the Foxes.

Only four years ago Winks was starting the Champions League final for Spurs, and only five years ago when Coady led Wolves to the Championship title. Both players will bring fantastic experience and a strong standard to Leicester.

The 2013-14 season was the last time the Foxes were in the Championship, and ten years on only Marc Albrighton and Vardy remain at the club from that time. It was a season that saw the East-Midlands club win the title with a staggering 102 points.

On paper, the current squad should have enough to be too strong for the rest of the league, and with more time left in the transfer window, more names could be coming through the door. They should be able to bounce straight back up with the look of the team and the new manager, but the Championship is renowned for being one of football’s hardest divisions.

So, Leicester will need to be on their A-game all season for promotion straight back to the Premier League.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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