How Leicester's Strongest XI Could Look by the Start of Next Season

11 May 2020 12:43

The 2020/21 season may be a gazillion years away, but football clubs are still planning ahead for what the next campaign may bring.


For Leicester, this will almost definitely include Champions League football for the first time since their famous title win back in 2015/16. This is because of the remarkable success the Foxes have enjoyed this campaign under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers, who has helped transform the Midlands club.


Leicester have recaptured the imagination, not only picking up some tremendous and consistent results, but doing so in an aesthetically pleasing manner. To help build on such success, the club will need to be characteristically savvy in the transfer market, and build a squad capable of challenging domestically and in Europe.


With that in mind, let's take a look at what an ideal Leicester starting lineup would look like next term.



GK - Kasper Schmeichel


Schmeichel has been an ever-present pair of safe hands for the Foxes

If it ain't broke, don't fix it! This has very much applied to Leicester's goalkeeping position for nearly nine years now.


Likely to be the Foxes' full-time skipper next season as Wes Morgan edges closer to hanging up his boots, Schmeichel's leadership has been crucial throughout Leicester's resurgence in the Premier League. Add this to the fact that the Dane is a consistent eight-out-of-ten performer, and Rodgers' side know they're in safe hands.


If the Leicester boss even tried to uproot the 33-year-old ahead of next season, there would likely be a riot in the east Midlands.



RB - Ricardo Pereira


Ricardo Pereira has developed into one of the world's best right-backs

Not only has the 26-year-old developed into one of the Premier League's best right-backs, he's arguably one of the world's best.


Pereira provides perfect balance to Leicester's back line, posing a consistent threat going forward and while being a robust defender heading towards his own goal. The full-back has scored four goals this season and assisted another three for his teammates, all while helping the Foxes boast the third best defence in the division.


Pereira has also made 119 tackles this season, more than any other player in the Premier League - 20 more than next best Aaron Wan-Bissaka - despite also having had the fourth-most touches of anybody in the English top flight.


The only problem for Leicester regarding Pereira next season is keeping hold of him, as the Portuguese defender has attracted a fair amount of interest from Europe's elite clubs. However, Champions League football and a healthy pay cheque should quash such gossip.



CB - Caglar Soyuncu


Soyuncu has emerged as a world-class talent this campaign

There was a fair amount of uncertainty at the heart of Leicester's defence at the start of the season. Harry Maguire's big-money exit from the King Power Stadium left the Foxes little time to find a replacement, but fortunately for Leicester the solution was right in front of their eyes.


Despite enduring a mediocre first year in the Midlands following his move from Freiburg, the Turkish defender has blossomed into one of the Premier League's most promising centre backs. A fan favourite at the King Power for his strange blend of composure, recklessness and ferocity, there is nobody else Leicester fans would prefer in the centre of their defence next season.


Well.except maybe Virgil van Dijk.



CB - Jonny Evans


Evans has only gotten better with age in Leicester's defence

Ageing like a fine wine in Leicester's back line, there is certainly no need for Rodgers to look at replacing Jonny Evans just yet. He may now be 32, but he seemingly only becomes more assured and confident in the Foxes' stubborn defensive unit as time passes.


A much underrated force in the Premier League, the Northern Irishman will be able to help lead Leicester to even greater success in the near future.



LB - Alex Telles


Will Alex Telles choose the King Power next season?

If the much overrated Ben Chilwell should depart the King Power this summer - likely providing a healthy sum of money for the Foxes in the process - then ideally Leicester would bring in Alex Telles to replace him.


Would it be a bad thing if Chilwell stuck around? No.


Is Telles a better player? Yes.


It would take in the region of £40m to entice Porto, who look set to lose their star defender no matter what in the next transfer window. But it would be money well spent on a man who has a combined 19 goals and assists in all competitions this season.from left-back.



CM - Wilfred Ndidi


Ndidi is crucial to Leicester's system under Rodgers

People may look towards Jamie Vardy as the decisive factor in Leicester's recent success, but Ndidi has been just as important to the Foxes.


The midfielder didn't start any of Leicester's four February games this season, with the Foxes failing to win any and picking up just two points from a possible 12. Without the Nigerian enforcer, Rodgers' side look lost, unable to close the spaces in between the midfield and defence, subsequently forfeiting far too much room for opposition attackers in the final third.


Ndidi has made the equal-second most interceptions in the league this season and the third most tackles, all while having started just 20 of the Foxes' 29 league games this term.



CM - William Carvalho


Carvalho could provide even greater solidity to Leicester's midfield

If you have Ndidi and William Carvalho partnered up in midfield, even the world's best team are going to struggle to find space in between the lines.


The defensive midfielder has never quite made the leap to the big time that was expected of him when he rose through the ranks at Sporting CP, but he has now found comfort at Real Betis. Unfortunately for the 28-year-old, injury has massively hampered his progress this season, limiting him to just nine La Liga appearances.


While employing both Carvalho and Ndidi may seem a tad negative, it would allow Rodgers to field a much more attack-minded forward line.



RW - Milot Rashica


Rashica is being eyed up by many of Europe's biggest clubs

While Leicester's hat may not currently be in the ring to sign Rashica, it should be.


It seems the Werder Bremen winger has been more or less linked with every club under the sun, and therefore has a few big decisions to make this summer. However, he could do a lot worse than opting for the Foxes, who could provide him with the Champions League football he has spoken out about wanting, and consistent game time as well.


With a yet to be announced summer arrival making it in at left-wing in this team - which we'll get to in a moment - Rashica will have to swap his preferred position on the left for the right-hand side.



AM - James Maddison


Will Leicester be able to keep Maddison?

Keeping hold of James Maddison ahead of the 2020/21 season will be a tall order for the Foxes, especially with Manchester United lurking over the King Power yet again. But, in an ideal situation, the former Norwich man would stick around in the Midlands.


After all, Maddison is largely responsible for much of Leicester's success this season, with a combined 12 goals and assists in all competitions. More than his underlying stats, Maddison simply oozes class and can easily develop into the attacking-midfielder England have been crying out for.


A gargantuan bid may be hard to ignore, but it would be in Leicester's best interest to block Manchester United's number ahead of the upcoming transfer window.



LW - Philippe Coutinho


Will Coutinho reunite with Rodgers this summer?

'Reunited and it feels so good'.


Coutinho could take some real inspiration from Peaches and Herb.


Yes, it hasn't worked out at Barcelona, we get that, but there is no denying that Coutinho is a phenomenal footballer. The Brazilian proved that at Liverpool, saving his best for the Premier League - something that wouldn't go a miss for Leicester.


Rodgers could be a major pull for the attacker, having brought him to Anfield and helped transform him into the player he is today. It's fair to say that if one manager can get the best out of the Barcelona flop, then it's the current Leicester boss.


Money may be a barrier to this deal, but whatever Leicester have to do, they should just make it happen. For themselves and all of us.



ST - Jamie Vardy


Vardy is the Premier League's top scorer so far this season

To be the Premier League's top scorer is difficult. To do so at the age of 33 is even harder.


The day Leicester fans call for Jamie Vardy to be replaced up front is the day we know football loyalty is dead. The man is adored at the King Power and will definitely still be banging in goals for the Foxes in the 2020/21 season. Period.


Source: 90min