Leicester City supporters have been pretty downbeat in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their team go down 2-1 at Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday to leave their seventh place hopes in tatters.
Claude Puel’s men went into their clash at Turf Moor eighth in the table and six points behind the Clarets with six games to go, but with the incentive that seventh place could well yield European football unless Southampton win the FA Cup. Yet the Foxes now have a mountain to climb if they are to return to European competition as early goals from Chris Wood and Kevin Long set Sean Dyche’s men on their way to all three points, and although Jamie Vardy got one back for the visitors late on, they were unable to avoid a second successive Premier League defeat.
Consequently, there have been many despondent Leicester fans in the Tavern in recent times, and they are unlikely to be overly thrilled by recent reports linking a whole host of top clubs with defender Harry Maguire.
The 25-year-old has hugely impressed since his move to the Foxes back in the summer, and there’s little doubt from his efforts that were the Midlands outfit to sell the £13.5 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) during the close season, they would be plunged into a relegation battle.
Ultimately, the England international has enjoyed arguably his best season to date since his move from Hull City last summer, with starts in all 33 of their Premier League matches this season underling his influence and significance to Puel’s side.
In fact, the 25-year-old has been so impressive that he looks certain, barring injury, to make Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England squad for this summer’s World Cup, and is very much in contention to be a starter in the former Middlesbrough chief’s back three.
And that has all come about from his hugely impressive displays for Leicester, be it physically against some of the strongest forwards in the division, or indeed on the ball in bringing it out of defence and seeking to launch attacks – Maguire is very confident and composed on the ball.
Ultimately, there is little doubting that the 25-year-old has been Leicester’s best defender this term, and were they to lose him during the summer, it would throw into doubt whether the cover is there to adequately replace him.
Wes Morgan, Danny Simpson, and Christian Fuchs, three men who played a key part in their title-winning triumph in 2016, haven’t quite been at that level this season, while left back Ben Chilwell has somewhat been thrown in at the deep end, and hasn’t always convinced.
Certainly, on-loan star Aleksandar Dragovic looks a good player, but it’s evident that taking Maguire out of that backline would significantly weaken it, and given they have conceded a pretty hefty 47 goals this time round, that number is only likely to rise next term.
And were that to happen, relegation would be a genuine possibility. The Foxes, as of now, may be 15 points clear of Southampton in 18th, but such is the tight nature of the bottom half of the Premier League that Puel’s side are just ten ahead of 17th place Swansea City.
Ten points still seems like a lot, but losing one of their most influential stars in Maguire will surely see that gap decrease next season, to the point that Leicester may well be plunged into a relegation scrap were they to sanction the 25-year-old’s departure.
Leicester fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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