With the Premier League well underway and the UEFA Europa League now a few days away from returning, Leicester City fans will be optimistic going into their first European campaign since their remarkable run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League back in the 16-17 season.
It may seem like just another season for Brendan Rodgers and the Foxes, but could this season hold more on and off the pitch in terms of shaping the club’s future or will it just be another year that includes European football?
New Training Ground
Back in 2018, the club announced it would be building a brand-new state of the art £100million training complex which was said when completed would be one of the best training grounds in world football. It is set to include 11 full-size pitches, an indoor training centre, a sports turf academy, and a nine-hole golf course.
The 185-acre site was set to be finished for the beginning of the season but due to certain setbacks on site and the Coronavirus Pandemic the ground isn’t yet completed with the move set to happen now at a time that is more convenient.
The move to the new training ground is another step in the right direction and another sign of intent from a club with owners who want to take the club to the very top.
League Positionings and Financial Security
It’s been five years since the start of that incredible season which ended with the Foxes lifting the Premier League trophy against all odds, but since then the clubs league positionings haven’t been as good as the club and supporters would have hoped for.
Since that season, the club have not been able to knock on the door of the ‘Big Six’ again finishing the Premier League season 12th and ninth twice, until last season they finally managed to break through that barrier finishing fifth. Fans were still disappointed in the way the club finished the season slipping out of the Champions League positions on the final day of the season though.
It’ll be the clubs main aim now to build on the success of last season and consistently finish in the European places. If they can do that again this season it would be huge in terms of securing the clubs financial security, with Premier League safety securing clubs around £100million from the TV deals plus more money for qualifying for the Europa League.
Any bonus money would be great allowing the club to add new players to the squad and pay off any money owed on the new training ground plus funding any future projects the club has in mind.
Transfer Dealings and Squad Depth
For the past few years the Foxes have been known for their incredible dealings in the transfer window - buying players for cheap then selling them on for huge profits. The most notable names being Riyad Mahrez, Harry Maguire, Danny Drinkwater, N’Golo Kante and most recently Ben Chilwell all leaving the club.
Even though some of the club’s biggest stars have left, you have got to give the clubs recruitment department a lot of credit for the players that have been brought since, with players such as Wilfred Ndidi, James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu coming in and proving key players.
With the window just closing, the club has added a few names to help with squad depth going into the Europa League - Timothy Castagne, Cengiz Under and Wesley Fofana all being young promising players, who will be all be key players in Rodgers plans.
Having suffered a few injury setbacks already with Ndidi and Soyuncu set to have a lengthy spell on the side-lines and Pereira on his way back from an ACL injury, Brendan Rodgers will be keen to keep the rest of his players in top shape with a number of fixtures to come over the next few months.
Only time will tell how successful this season will be and how this season may shape the future of Leicester City.