The Leicester City fans in the Transfer Tavern are looking forward to their clash with Southampton at the King Power Stadium tomorrow evening.
Claude Puel welcomes Mark Hughes and his relegation-threatened Southampton side to Leicester tomorrow for a fixture which carries almost no importance for the Foxes. On the other hand, the fixture could not be any more crucial for the travelling Saints who simply have to win to give themselves a chance of securing survival this season.
Now that Leicester’s survival has been achieved and their chances of qualifying for Europe have been dashed by their defeat against Burnley last weekend, they have very little to play for against Southampton. However, the players will be playing for their future with the club, as Claude Puel will be starting to decide his plan of action for the summer transfer window, and one player he might be tempted to either sell or loan out this summer is Kelechi Iheanacho (valued at 13.5 million by Transfermarkt).
Iheanacho has struggled to hit the ground running with the Foxes since he completed a transfer from Manchester City last summer and, considering his quality, it’s unlikely he will be content with the bit-part role he is currently playing at the club. Claude Puel also has Jamie Vardy, Shinji Okazaki and Fousseni Diabate to chose from in forward positions, and that’s without even mentioning Islam Slimani who is set to return from his loan spell at Newcastle United at the end of the season.
With that to consider, Puel should start Iheanacho against Southampton to give him the opportunity to showcase his talent from the outset and attract interest from rival clubs who will be eager to sign him this summer. Given the level of Iheancho’s potential, it seems unlikely that they will be willing to sell him this summer, but a loan deal could prove to be fruitful for all parties concerned.
If Puel wants to find a club which is ideal for Iheancho’s development, he will need to hand him more opportunities during the final weeks of the season to increase his exposure, starting tomorrow against Southampton. Iheanacho had a positive impact on proceedings last weekend against Burnley as he came off the bench to assist Jamie Vardy for Leicester’s only goal of the game, so it’s fair to say he deserves a starting berth tomorrow on that basis alone.
Claude Puel may ultimately decide to give Iheanacho a more integral role in his squad next season, but if that is not the case then he simply must hand him more opportunities in the final weeks of the season to attract interest for his services from outside the club.
Leicester City fans – thoughts? Let us know below!
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