Leicester City supporters have been pretty downbeat in the Transfer Tavern in the last few days after seeing their team thumped 5-0 by Crystal Palace on Saturday to pile further pressure on manager Claude Puel.
The Foxes went into their clash at Selhurst Park having failed to win any of their preceding three Premier League matches, a run of form which all but ended their hopes of qualifying for the Europa League. And those dreams are now in tatters as goals from Wilfried Zaha, James McArthur, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Patrick van Aanholt, and Christian Benteke secured a comprehensive victory for Roy Hodgson’s side, thus leaving Leicester in ninth with three games to play.
As such, there have been many disappointed and angry Leicester fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are running out of patience with manager Puel, what with their team having won just four of their last 18 Premier League games.
And were the Foxes to indeed relieve the former Southampton boss of his duties, they simply must turn to Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez as the man to guide the club into Europe next season.
Ultimately, the Spaniard has done a remarkable job at St James’ Park in keeping the Magpies in the Premier League this season, this all after earning promotion from the Championship last time round, and indeed spending very little in the subsequent transfer windows to bolster the squad.
Yet they look set to secure a top-half finish this season which is quite simply a sensational effort from the North East giants, and much of that can be put down to the management of Benitez, who has got the best out of the squad, in particular making them a difficult team to beat.
And while it’s clear that the fans at Newcastle love the 58-year-old, it remains to be seen whether he gets the financial backing he so desperately wants and arguably needs to turn the Magpies into European challengers, and were he not to get those assurances, he may consider his future.
And Leicester must be take advantage of such uncertainty were they to sack Puel, as Benitez has proven his capabilities over many years, not least recently at Newcastle, to suggest that he can take this Foxes side into top six contention.
Clearly, this Leicester squad is full of supremely talented individuals right the way through from Kasper Schmeichel in goal to Jamie Vardy upfront – add in the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Wilfred Ndidi, and Harry Maguire, and there is a very strong spine from which to build a very strong team.
And having spent £17 million on Maguire and £15 million on Vicente Iborra last summer, and indeed £22 million on Adrien Silva, the funds that Benitez doesn’t have at Newcastle are certainly available at Leicester, which means that he would indeed be able to build the squad he wants with the players he wants were he to move to the King Power Stadium.
Ultimately, Leicester have been one of the best-of-the-rest’s this season and aren’t miles away from challenging the top six – they just need a manager who is effective in the transfer window and able to get the best out of the squad at his disposal. And Benitez is that man.
Thus, if the Foxes are indeed to sack Puel this summer, they simply have to try and replace him with 58-year-old Benitez, as the Spaniard could single-handedly propel Leicester into top six contention next season.
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