Leicester City Season Preview: Rodgers to mastermind
Foxes’ return to European football?
Leicester City head into the sixth consecutive Premier League campaign this season | Photo: Getty/ Plumb Images

Leicester City embark on their sixth consecutive season in the Premier League during the 2019/20 campaign and will hope to continue the positive signs displayed under Brendan Rodgers at the conclusion of last season.

Having been appointed as manager in February 2019 following the dismissal of Claude Puel, the Northern Irishman had quite the impact at the King Power Stadium, eventually leading the Foxes to their second-consecutive ninth-placed finish.

Now, the former Celtic man will be aiming to continue his progress with the East-Midlanders as the club look to return to Europe.

Transfer business

Once again, the club have been extremely busy in the transfer market ahead of the new campaign. The first signing was young full-back James Justin from Luton Town who has arrived to challenge reigning player of the year Ricardo Pereira.

The Foxes then pulled off quite a shock as they swooped for Spanish striker Ayoze Perez from Newcastle United for a reported fee of £30m. Their big spending then continued as they secured a club-record deal to secure the permanent signature of Youri Tielemans, who impressed in an eye-catching loan spell last season, and brings even more dynamism to the Leicester midfield.

However, as Foxes’ supporters have somewhat become accustomed to in the last few seasons, they have also seen a big-name departure from the King Power Stadium as central defender Harry Maguire joined Manchester United in a world-record fee for a defender.

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Where the season can be won and lost

Much of Leicester’s success this season could depend on recruiting a suitable replacement for Maguire. The hugely experienced Jonny Evans is a guaranteed starter for the club but Wes Morgan is no longer first-choice under Rodgers. Elsewhere, Caglar Soyuncu struggled to adapt last season, whilst Filip Benkovic has yet to make his Premier League debut.

Therefore, a quality replacement could make all of the difference for Leicester this season.

Elsewhere, it is at the other end of the pitch where the Foxes look extremely promising. Jamie Vardy will no doubt lead the line yet again after plundering 18 Premier League goals last season. He will be supported by young, exciting talent such as James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Demarai Gray in a Leicester attack that will look to thrill once again.

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One to watch

Speaking of the youthful promise in the ranks in the East-Midlands, academy graduate Harvey Barnes will certainly be one to keep an eye on next season. The 21-year-old was brilliant in the first-half of last season on-loan at West Bromwich Albion.

After getting recalled in January, he kept up his fantastic form as he scored his first-ever Leicester goal and put in a series of exhilarating performances on the wing. Should he continue his progression with the club, he most certainly could become a key player under Rodgers.

Potential wildcard

Heading into his third season with Leicester since a big-money move from Manchester City, striker Kelechi Iheanacho is yet to set the world alight. The Nigerian has made 63 appearances for the club since arriving, scoring only ten goals in the process. The current season then he really has to turn in some positive performances if he wants to stake a claim in the Foxes’ frontline.

The 22-year-old has been in great form in pre-season having netted three goals and will hope to continue that into the new campaign.

Having said that, it could go one of two ways with Iheanacho; his poor form could continue but fans will hope to see him start to repay some of the £25m fee that saw him arrive in the East-Midlands.

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What to expect

Rodgers has made no illusions of his targets in his first full season at the King Power; European football. It would be no surprise then to Leicester challenge at the upper end of the Premier League table and in the latter stages of the domestic cups. The Foxes enjoyed a highly impressive pre-season by enjoying an unbeaten run of results and even beat UEFA Champions League-bound Atalanta which bodes extremely well heading into the new season.

Once again, the 2016 champions should have enough to shock a couple of the top-flight's big-hitters throughout the campaign, starting in their opening fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Nevertheless, it won’t be an easy task with Everton, West Ham United and Wolves having particularly impressive windows.

Predicted finish: 7th.

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