Leicester City’s Premier League form to start the season has been troubling. While it’s important not to overreact, nearly a third of the campaign has passed and the club is languishing in 14th place, just two points clear of the relegation zone. Moreover, they have picked up just one away point as of the writing of this article.
Basically, the sky is falling.
Ok, ok, ok, that was overreacting, but it is reasonable - and perhaps necessary - for supporters to start questioning just who these Foxes really are. Are they the club who is content to merely stay in the Premier League every year? Or are they the team who fearlessly took down the giants of the footballing world en route to the title?
The answer likely isn’t a simple one, but it is clear that there is talent on Leicester’s roster. Some of the brightest talents are the youngest players, too. So it’s fair to ask, does the answer to Leicester’s domestic struggles lie in their hands - ehem - feet?
An infusion of youth through the likes of Demarai Gray (20), Bartosz Kapustka (19), and Ben Chilwell (19) has enough upside that it may be time for them to become regular contributors.
I don’t say this as an indictment of the current starters either. After all, this season alone they’ve given us unforgettable moments like this.
Still, more chances for the aforementioned starlets are warranted. Kapustka and Chilwell haven't seen much of the field, but in limited opportunities Gray has shown his class. Who could forget that goal against Manchester United?
All three of these players have the natural talent to play in the Premier League. Kapustka, for example, impressed on the big stage of Euro 2016 for his home country of Poland. Chilwell, too, has impressed, forcing the Foxes to fend off interest from Liverpool and sign him to an extension.
This leads me to believe that they could truly have a positive impact on the current season if given more opportunities. And even if they can’t save the season, there is still plenty of reason to give them a shot.
With any luck they will make up the core of Leicester City for years to come. Giving them playing time will only further their development and brighten the club’s future.
The same goes for any potential January - and beyond - transfer window signings.
For example, the club has been pursuing 23-year-old Burnley defender Michael Keane for some time now. With Wes Morgan and Robert Huth aging, and Leicester’s defense leaking goals, adding a promising center-back could go a long way to setting up the club for the future.
Recent reports have also linked LCFC with Genk star Wilfred Ndidi. The 19-year-old Nigerian fits the mold of the kind of player Claudio Ranieri seems to appreciate. That is, the mold-breaking sort, of course.
Ndidi has played center-back, full-back, and even defensive mid for Genk in Belgium. This is the kind of versatility that attracted the club to Daniel Amartey. Adding another teenager with this kind of ability could help secure many different positions for the foreseeable future.
So while the sky may seem to be falling, it could actually be the limit for this club. Boasting an already dangerous young pool of talent - and potentially seeking out more - Leicester is putting itself in prime position for the future. This is without even previously mentioning the relative youth of Ahmed Musa (24), Nampalys Mendy (24), Jeff Schlupp (23), and Daniel Amartey (21).
The only thing that remains is actually giving some of the more sparingly used bunch a real shot.
Your move, Claudio.