Leicester are certainly seen as a team that are amongst the ‘best of the rest’ clubs in England. After an unbelievable underdog story in winning the 2015/16 season, Jamie Vardy and co have continued to keep their place in the Premier League, and have slowly and surely begun a rise in the table once again.
At the beginning of the 2019/20 season, Leicester are predicted to finish 7th by the media (a rather accurate prediction considering they ended up 5th), and the core of the squad is strong. Vardy, Maddison, and Chilwell alone could help most teams to a top 6 finish in the Premier League, but on FM things seem to turn sour after a few years.
If you’ve managed in England in Football Manager 2020, you’ll notice that Leicester really begin to struggle, and by 2024, they’re quite often in the Championship, and on the decline.
With that said, here are the reasons I believe Leicester are a club you should consider taking the reigns of in Football Manager 2020 and/or Football Manager 2021.
1. They are strong competition for the top 4
Leicester’s starting squad, as we all know, has a lot of quality throughout the whole team, with maybe just a couple of weak spots on the wings. Chilwell and Pereira are a brilliant full back pairing, and being most comfortable in full back attack, they both create and score goals throughout the season. Evans and Soyuncu are solid enough at the back, though you wouldn’t be blamed for wanting to bring in a new centre back (Thilo Kehrer is always available for £3.9m if you’re uncreative, or you could try and persuade the board to bring in one of the endless up and coming French centre backs).
The board have given you £30m for your first transfer window, which for what I’m used to, is practically an endless pit of gold. Unfortunately you only have about 75k in the wage budget, so you might want to shift the budget around a bit, as you can definitely get away with only making a couple of signings. I added Said Benrahma, Malang Sarr and Rashica (once his work permit was sorted) to the squad, not being so creative myself, but thinking of the future knowing what can happen.
Try adding a couple of players for the future to your squad, keep the core, and see how you fare against the big six and the rest of the league.
2. Honouring a legend
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha loved Leicester, and Leicester loved Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. His untimely loss in the tragic helicopter accident on the 27th October 2018 left a hole that his son was given to fill. The players’ loyalty to Vichai and his King Power legacy has really spurred on the Leicester squad to push on to become the ‘best of the rest’.
In Football Manager 20, the squad doesn’t seem to have the same reaction. After a couple of years Vardy decides to retire, and the money they’re able to get for Maddison (and Chilwell and Pereira more often than not), is not exactly used successfully, and they end up dropping off to near the bottom of the Premier League within four to five years.
It seems quite unfair to see this happen to Leicester. They’re a team that almost no one can hate, and it’s certainly not fun seeing them drop off after they’ve become such a strong squad in real life. I believe everyone should take up the hot seat at Leicester City to make sure they are where they belong for the foreseeable future. You will have the backing of Vichai’s son and the King Power dynasty. It seems strange that they do go down to the lower leagues, but your goal is to make sure the opposite happens.
3.Cashing in on the big guns and move on from the squad of 2015/16
Whilst I have suggested holding on to the core of the squad, I believe your best route into asserting Leicester into the top of the table is by selling a few of the big guns to have the budget to strengthen all around. Your main money makers being Maddison, Tielemans, and possibly Chilwell if you want to make a big change to the squad. Cash in on these after a season, they’ll all have a lot of years left on their contracts, and if you have a successful first season, they’ll bring in the big bucks, allowing for a large investment across the whole team.
Meanwhile, it is also necessary to move on from the emphatic squad of 2015/16. Of course you’ve already lost Mahrez and Kante (and the big man Danny Drinkwater), but a lot of the players are still there, taking a chunk of your wage budget. Get them gone in summer 2020; Fuchs, Morgan, Marc Albrighton, and Schmeichel are definitely not the players for the future. With them off the wage bill, your second summer transfer window could be huge.
Bring in those wonderkids if possible (my top suggestions being Fabio Silva and Billy Gilmour if he doesn’t flop in your save), get King Power to improve the youth facilities, get Leicester ready to fight for the league.
4.Repeating Ranieri’s heroics
My final reason behind why you should consider managing Leicester is the enjoyment of trying to repeat Ranieri’s heroics in 2015/16.
Sure, you’ll never be tipped at 5000/1 to win the league again, but you’ll certainly need more than 81 points to do it. Can you create a squad strong enough to overcome the giants of Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea? Do you have the skills to recreate the tale of a beautiful underdog story? You won’t know until you try.
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