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Leicester City preseason squad report - Strikers

How will Leicester’s forwards fair this season with big pressure to produce?

West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Check in with the rest of the squad in our other positional reports, starting with goalkeepers then move on to defenders, midfielders and wingers. You’ll be glad you did!

Leicester City’s forwards come into 2017/18 with a lot of expectations on their shoulders. The previous campaign saw a massive departure from Jamie Vardy’s 24-goal campaign of title-winning season and with little help from the rest of the attackers, the scoring was definitely slowed.

With an unchanged (up to now) stable of attacking options, Craig Shakespeare will need to figure out a way to get even more out his goal-scorers. Let’s take a closer look at last season.

2016/17 Performance

It wasn’t a year that most City strikers would want to remember from a goal-scoring standpoint. Vardy was unable to replicate his fantastic season from the year prior and only managed 13 Premier League goals and seemed frustrated the entire year.

And that is pretty much it.

Islam Slimani managed only seven league goals in his first season with the club, Mr. Hustle Shinji Okazaki added only three. One-time record-signing Ahmed Musa was the biggest disappointment of the bunch as the highly-touted Nigerian contributed only two.

Everton v Leicester City - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Proof that Ahmed Musa actually scored for Leicester.
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Leo Ulloa, a cult favorite with the club after his timely contributions in Leicester’s miraculous championship season added one league goal...but was only on the pitch for three Premier League starts and a just over a dozen substitute appearances.

So yeah, goes without saying that the production will need to improve heading into the upcoming year.

Transfer News

One of the biggest City incoming transfer sagas of the summer has been that of the proposed move of 20-year-old forward Kelechi Iheanacho. The talented youngster has been on Leicester’s radar all summer with a move being really close and then delayed and then ahhhhh frustration.

The latest credible chunk of info we have is probably this:

That’s good. Word was that the move was being delayed due to player image rights and confusion with other slightly sticky elements. Hopefully that gets wrapped up soon as it’d be an excellent bit of business for the Foxes, even in the £20-25 million range.

It’s funny to even think about that kind of sum being paid by our Leicester...but my word do I love it.

That’s the coming in. The going out? Well, everyone else. Rumors have Slimani being the latest out the door with Musa practically gone already. The promise of last summer now thoroughly in the rear window, smarter buys will be need to be had if the club will be taking an important step forward after last year’s massive (and somewhat expected) step back.

Oh, and a contract extension for Ulloa? Bit out of the blue, that one.

2017/18 Outlook

Let’s hope that the upcoming year provides more on the goal-scoring front.

Pretty dull in front of goal for most of last year, as stated above, the forwards will need to get things back into gear this campaign.

Expect a somewhat different attack this year with the creative influences in the club (Riyad Mahrez and Demarai Gray) each going through their somewhat diva summers. If one or both were to leave, that’d leave quite a hole in the ball delivery standpoint.

Leicester City v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Hands up if you want this lad to stay in Leicester for many years to come!
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Leicester’s interest in Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson would fill that void but the Icelandic attacking midfielder looks destined for retooled Everton. If the club want to see more goals out of Vardy, Okazaki and co...the creative and influential creators need to be brought into the mix.

Danny Drinkwater can provide some of that from his central role, but ideally it shouldn’t be his main focus.

All of this said, I’d be surprised if the goals don’t come. Slimani took time to adjust but if he stays, I’d be surprised if he didn’t hone in his ability playing in the Prem. Vardy still has his pace and is going to be hungry for a spot on England’s World Cup team. And you know what happens when he’s got something to play for...

Big year for City. The forwards need to realize it and act accordingly.