Leicester City supporters in the Transfer Tavern are reasonably upbeat at present despite seeing their side kick off the 2018/19 Premier League season with defeat on Friday night.
Claude Puel’s men opened up the new campaign against Manchester United at Old Trafford and produced a decent display in the North West, only for goals from Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw to seal all three points for the Red Devils. Jamie Vardy did pull one back late on for the Foxes to give them hope, but it was little too late to condemn the Midlands outfit to defeat on the opening weekend of the season.
Nonetheless, their side’s performance has been reasonably well received by Leicester supporters, as has their team’s efforts in the summer transfer market.
And having sealed a bargain deal for defender Jonny Evans, and indeed kept hold of Harry Maguire beyond the English deadline, who they reportedly hope to pen down to a new deal imminently, Leicester surely won the summer window this time round.
Ultimately, manager Puel went into the summer under pressure after a disappointing run of results in 2018, with his side winning just five of their 18 Premier League matches to eventually finish ninth.
Yet the Frenchman was backed by the owners to seek to a build his team at the King Power Stadium, and he certainly complied with some very shrewd business, not least arguably the bargain of the window in luring Evans away from West Brom for just £3.5 million.
The centre back may well have been part of a Baggies team relegated from the top-flight last term, hence the lowly figure as a result of a relegation clause, but the Northern Ireland international was a rare bright spark in an otherwise disastrous campaign at the Hawthorns – after all, Arsenal and Manchester City were interested in the defender only back in January.
Thus, for Leicester to get a deal done, and likely fend off competition for his signature, for a paltry £3.5 million represents outstanding business, while they also deserve credit for strengthening areas of the squad in need of improving in the form of James Maddison as a number ten, and indeed Ricardo Pereira as a right back.
Both started at Old Trafford last week to underline the fact that both will be key first teamers for the Foxes this term, as did centre back Maguire who, pretty much since starring for England at the World Cup over the summer, has been linked with a move to United.
The 25-year-old was outstanding for the Three Lions in Russia to help Gareth Southgate’s side reach the last four, yet that came off the back of a fine season for Leicester in which he started all 38 of their Premier League games, and won the club’s Player of the Season award.
In fact, Leicester’s tally of 60 goals against in those 38 matches would have certainly been higher were it not for Maguire’s efforts, thus underlining just how imperative it was that they retained his services beyond August 9 – and to reportedly close in on a new deal imminently for the defender is further good news in what has been an excellent summer at the King Power Stadium.
Yes, losing Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City is a loss, but it is one that was always likely after a move failed to materialise in January – and by bringing in attacking talent in the form of Maddison and Rachid Ghezzal, Puel has done his bit in seeking to fill that big void.
Nonetheless, in sealing a bargain deal for Evans, and closing on in an agreement regarding Maguire’s long-term future, which obviously wouldn’t have bene possible were they to cash in on him during the market, it seems as though Leicester won this summer’s transfer window.
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