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Leicester City have managed to pull off a comeback once again, after looking down and out for large parts of the season.
The last year’s Premier League winners struggled heavily in the early parts of the ongoing campaign and looked set for a drop to the second tier. But under the new manager, they have managed to turn things around and now look set for another season in the upper echelons of English football. The Foxes currently find themselves at 12th place in the league table, with 37 points from 32 games and will be hoping to mount a late push for a place in the top half of the table.
Plans for the next season are underway as Shakespeare has identified several targets who would provide them with a boost for the upcoming years. While there are a few players who could be heading out of the King Power Stadium as well.
Here is how Leicester City could ideally look like if they get their wishes in the market:
Kasper Schmeichel has been one of the best players for the Foxes this season and has been pivotal to their Champions League campaign staying afloat. He will continue between the sticks next season as well.
At right-back Danny Simpson should retain his place in the line-up. The 30-year old has never looked better on the pitch in his career and still has two more years left on his existing deal with the club.
Captain Wes Morgan has failed to recapture the brilliant form that saw him lead his team to the title last season, but his leadership qualities will keep him in the playing XI for the upcoming season as well.
But with the Foxes looking to inject some youth into the backline, we could see Robert Huth play the role of a backup over the next season and Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson come into the starting line-up. The 25-year old has been Boro’s star player and has been linked with a move to the King Power Stadium. With the Teesside outfit looking set for a drop to the second tier, a transfer could be on the cards.
While Christian Fuchs has been excelling at left-back, next season could very well turn out to be the year when promising youngster Ben Chilwell finally comes of age and establishes himself as the first-choice in the starting XI.
Riyad Mahrez hasn’t had the best of the seasons after setting the Premier League ablaze last campaign. However, he is still of interest to several clubs in Europe and if Leicester manage to hold on to him for another year, that would prove to be a huge statement.
Danny Drinkwater has really established himself as the linchpin in the midfield for the Foxes. The 27-year old is a definite starter next season. He will be partnered by the 20-year old Wilfred Ndidi. The youngster has really grown in stature over the past few weeks and will be looking to make the position his own for years to come.
On the left flank Marc Albrighton is another sure shot to hold his place in the playing XI. The wide man has been extremely impressive this season and with Demarai Gray reportedly heading for an exit, Albrighton should be the undisputed starter.
Jamie Vardy has failed to hit the heights from the last campaign and as a result, interest in him will have certainly been reduced. But his recent goal-scoring touch should see him hold on to his place in the starting line-up.
Though Shinji Okazaki and Islam Slimani have been doing decently, the Foxes are being linked with a move for Chelsea youngster Tammy Abraham who has been excellent on loan with Bristol City in the EFL Championship this season. He could prove to be an exciting addition at the top if Leicester manage to get their hands on him.
While that is how the dream starting XI would be. But it is not entirely likely that things will work out as per plans. And hence here is a more realistic starting XI that could take the field in the next campaign:
Kasper Schmeichel will stay put at the King Power for the next season and will rightfully take his spot as the No.1 goalkeeper.
Danny Simpson too is going nowhere and should keep his place in the line-up at right back. Wes Morgan is set to be a mainstay in the heart of the defence for the upcoming season as well. While Leicester remain hopeful over Ben Gibson, with the likes of Chelsea also interested, chances of him moving to the King Power may be slim, meaning Robert Huth will keep his place alongside Morgan. With Christian Fuchs and Ben Chilwell in the ranks, Leicester are well-stocked in the left-back department, but the senior member could continue to dominate in terms of gaining the starting berth.
Riyad Mahrez would be hoping to get a big summer move with his eyes set on Barcelona. But with no serious interest from the Catalans or any other big club for that matter, he could stay with the Foxes and will feature on the right-hand side of the midfield.
Danny Drinkwater is a vital presence on the field for Leicester as he keeps them ticking. He is a sure thing in the XI. With young midfielder Wilfred Ndidi linked with Arsenal and Manchester United, he could be headed for an exit, if they do come calling. That would mean someone like Nampalys Mendy getting a starting spot in the line-up.
Winger Demarai Gray too has been linked with a move away, with the former Birmingham star reportedly unhappy with the lack of game time. Irrespective of whether he stays of leaves, Marc Albrighton will be the preferred option on the left-flank for the Foxes.
Jamie Vardy will continue to lead the line in the upcoming season as well. And he could be partnered by Tammy Abraham. The 25-goal striker has interested the Foxes. While a permanent move might prove to be a difficult proposition, there is a chance that a temporary loan deal could be worked out with Chelsea.