Leicester City supporters in the Transfer Tavern are relishing the 2018/19 Premier League season, what with their club seeking to improve upon their solid ninth place finish last time round.
The 2016 league champions were languishing in the bottom three when Craig Shakespeare lost his job back in October, with ex-Southampton chief Claude Puel appointed as his successor. And the Frenchman did a fine job in leading the Foxes to a ninth place finish come the end of the campaign, although their form in 2018 was far from impressive to increase the pressure on the 56-year-old as the season drew to a close.
Nonetheless, after a full pre-season and summer transfer window, there are many expectant Leicester fans around the country, several of whom have been keeping a close eye on the youth talent currently residing in the club’s youth teams, and wondering who could seek to make the step-up in the near future.
And based on his efforts for the club’s development squad last season, 21-year-old sensation Sam Hughes could be set for big things at the King Power Stadium, and may perhaps be the long-term replacement for Wes Morgan.
Ultimately, 34-year-old Morgan has been an outstanding servant to the Foxes since his move from Nottingham Forest back in 2012, with the centre back going on to appear 270 times for the Midlands outfit in the last six years, and of course captaining the side that achieved the impossible by winning the Premier League title back in 2016.
Yet Morgan endured a testing campaign last time round to suggest that he is beginning to enter the twilight of his career, and with just a year left on his current deal at the King Power Stadium (as per Transfermarkt), Foxes chief Puel could well be on the lookout for his long-term replacement.
Yet he doesn’t have to look too far afield, as 21-year-old Hughes appears to be the ideal candidate for the role.
The Englishman made the move to the Midlands club back in June 2017 after beginning his senior career at Chester, and he has since made a name for himself in the Foxes’ Under-23 side in their run to third place in Division One of Premier League 2 last term.
And that’s because, despite playing most of the campaign at centre back, Hughes finished the season with a staggering seven goals from his 19 appearances for the side, including netting in each of their last four games of the campaign as they narrowly missed out on second place to Liverpool.
Ultimately, that is a stunning return for a 21-year-old who played either as a centre back or a defensive midfielder for the development side last season, with Hughes clearly leading by example by earning the captain’s armband on two occasions last term, as well as a spot on the bench for the first team in Premier League games against West Ham and Tottenham.
Thus, it seems that the 21-year-old is really not far away from breaking through into Puel’s first team at the King Power Stadium, and with Robert Huth having left the club at the expiration of his contract this summer, alongside the speculation surrounding Harry Maguire’s future, that first team debut may well come sooner rather than later.
And with Morgan seemingly coming to the end of his career, the 21-year-old sensation could well be perfect long-term replacement for the Leicester captain.
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