Somewhat lost amongst the bigger news of the return of the Premier League on Saturday morning was an apparent £12m bid from West Bromwich Albion for Leicester City speedster Jeff Schlupp.
The Baggies had already had several bids for him rejected this summer, but news that the Ghana international was left out of Leicester’s match day squad prompted speculation that this time the transfer was on.
However, the Leicester Mercury are today reporting that the club have rejected the bid and apparently told the player that he won’t be leaving in this window.
Comments by Claudio Ranieri have suggested that, rather than being left of the squad because of an impending transfer, the 23-year-old was simply dropped as youngster Ben Chilwell and new signing Bartosz Kapustka were preferred as cover at left back and left wing, respectively.
I can only choose the first 11. He, of course, wants to play and I can't say yes, you can play every match - Ranieri on Schlupp
We had assumed that Schlupp’s versatility would see him feature regularly from the bench, but if he is now 3rd in line at left back and 4th on the wing (with Demarai Gray and Marc Albrighton also ahead of him) his chances may be few and far between, even with the added fixtures this year.
This is a continuation of a worrying trend for Schlupp, who started 30 games in the 2014/15 season, but just 14 last year. You can see why he would be tempted by a move to West Brom, who had supposedly offered him an assured starting place.
This was, of course, only one game and it might be a bit reactionary to read this much into the selection for the first game. Schlupp and Ritchie de Laet were still the starting fullbacks this time last year. The take home message for now is that, barring an exceptional offer, Schlupp will stay and I’m sure his unique blend of pace and power will see him continue to get some opportunities this year.
It is a super league and I would like to stay here as long as possible. Now, there are two or three clubs in the world, that if they come for me, it definitely makes you think - Riyad Mahrez on the Premier League
In other reactionary news, a translation of a French interview has quoted Riyad Mahrez as saying that only 2 or 3 clubs could make him think twice about leaving the Premier League. These mysterious teams could be
only Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid, clearly almost anyone.
It’s all non-news because we’ve been told he’s not for sale, but also because this wasn’t even about leaving Leicester, it was about leaving the Premier League.
Still, if you want a laugh try googling “are Arsenal/Spurs/etc one of the 2 or 3 clubs”.
UPDATE: LCFC Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has since taken to his instagram account to reaffirm that neither Schlupp nor Mahrez are for sale.