Transfer Talk: Leicester City's summer so far
With the transfer window in full swing, ESPNFC's Leicester City blogger Ben Jacobs discusses how Nigel Pearson's side are shaping up ahead of the new season.
IN -- Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa, Free), Jack Barmby (Manchester United, Free), Ben Hamer (Charlton, Free), Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton, seven million pounds), Matthew Upson (Brighton, Free)
OUT -- Neil Danns (Bolton, Free), Lloyd Dyer (Watford, Free), Marko Futacs (Mersin, Free), Paul Gallagher (Preston, Loan), Kevin Phillips (Retired), George Taft (Burton, Free), Martyn Waghorn (Wigan, Free), Zak Whitbread (Derby, Free)
SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW ASSESSMENTS
PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal | Aston Villa | Burnley | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Hull City | Leicester City | Liverpool | Man City | Man Utd | Newcastle | QPR | Southampton | Stoke | Sunderland | Swansea | Tottenham | West Brom | West Ham
Leicester haven't yet sold a single player for cash, so the transfer budget will come entirely from the deep pockets of their Thai owners. Billionaire chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who made his fortune with duty free magnate King Power, has pledged 180 million pounds to not only keep the Foxes afloat but get them into Europe within three years.
This is an ambitious (and perhaps impossible) aim, yet manager Nigel Pearson won't be complaining. However, due to the new Financial Fair Play regulations, Leicester won't be spending too much money in their first season back in the top flight for a decade. Despite cruising to the Championship title with 102 points, the club posted a 34 million pound loss in 2012-13.
Rate your business so far
It's currently 6/10. Leonardo Ulloa's arrival has salvaged a relatively quiet summer. Admittedly, the Argentine striker is unproven in the Premier League, but got 16 goals for Brighton last term and will add a bit of pace upfront. In spending seven million pounds, Leicester has smashed their 14-year-old transfer record and Foxes fans will now pray Ulloa turns out better than 5.5 million striker Adi Akin(bad)biyi -- arguably the Premier League's greatest ever flop.
Winger Marc Albrighton is an exciting addition. He offers genuine quality from set pieces, particularly corners, although needs to work on his temperament. Meanwhile, former England defender Matthew Upson will add a bit of Premier League knowhow. At 35 he's clearly past his prime but the same was said about Kevin Phillips last season and he scored some vital goals down the stretch.
In reality, the best bit of business Leicester did was holding onto Kasper Schmeichel. The Dane was strongly linked with a move to AC Milan but eventually signed a new four-year contract. Kasper is an outstanding leader from the back and -- as a recent viral video showed -- is even capable of scoring the odd overhead kick, too!
Who should be sold?
Andy King. The Welsh midfielder has fallen out of favour with Nigel Pearson, partly due to the excellent form of former Manchester United duo Danny Drinkwater and Matty James. A year ago, the Welsh international was linked with a four million pound switch to Everton yet it never materialised and he went on to warm the bench for much of last season.
With 54 goals -- including sensational strikes against Birmingham and Blackpool last campaign -- King is actually the highest scoring midfielder in the club's history, but he's going to have to fight for a place in the starting 11. He would obviously be a valuable squad player but if Pearson doesn't see his true worth, Leicester may as well cash in even though his transfer fee has probably now halved.
Who should be signed?
Leonardo Ulloa was Leicester's top target and after five failed bids, they finally got their man. The club has also been linked with Sunderland's Connor Wickham and Cardiff's Fraizer Campbell. Manchester City right-back Micah Richards is another player on Nigel Pearson's radar but he will have to fight off interest from West Ham and Hamburg.
Riyad Mahrez has also recommended Algeria teammate Faouzi Ghoulam. The 23-year-old left-back enjoyed a standout World Cup, but Napoli are understandably unwilling to sell. Plus, if they change their mind, Chelsea and Tottenham are reportedly lurking
Problem solving: What do you need?
Leicester lack a bit of genuine flair plus there are question marks over the firepower up front. David Nugent scored just six Premier League goals during his last top-flight spell with Burnley and in contrast, fellow newcomers Burnley boast the prolific Danny Ings.
Leicester, in their Premier League pomp under Martin O'Neill, always had creative midfielders capable of unlocking defences: majestic Muzzy Izzet, wily Steve Guppy and even sage old Roberto Mancini (during a very brief spell) all had impacts. A playmaker or false nine could thus be necessary.