It’s been a busy week for Leicester City, who’ve stepped up their preseason preparation with three more games. After a 1-0 win over Luton on Wednesday, split Foxes squads drew 0-0 with MK Dons on Friday and then lost 1-0 to Wolves on Saturday.
While the results were obviously not ideal, that’s not really what preseason is about. The key is to build fitness and learn what we can in order to be as prepared as possible for the coming season. So what lessons did we get?
1) Roma aren’t offering enough for Mahrez
We’ve had two offers from Roma apparently, including a “take it or leave it” £32m. The Foxes are very much expected to leave it and that sounds like a great idea to me. It’s not just that his value should be way higher in the current market, although it definitely should be.
Even when the Algerian has been on the pitch, we’ve struggled to create much at all. As it looks right now, we’d be in some trouble without him, and that just makes him more valuable.
2) Lawrence up, Musa down
With two games in as many days, most of the squad got 90 minutes of action. That was not the case for Ahmed Musa. The Nigerian forward sat on the bench all game on Friday and wasn't even included amongst the substitutes on Saturday. Considering 21 outfield players did feature, he’s pretty far down the pecking order.
Instead of Musa, Tom Lawrence started on the left against MK Dons. The Foxes failed to score, so obviously he didn't pull up any trees, but he did look like one of the best out there. Brighton are already interested in an £8m move for the welshman, so he wouldn’t be seeing the field over Musa right now if Shakespeare wasn't interested in keeping him around the first team squad this year.
3) Iborra shows his class
Some players just have more time on the ball. Or at least it looks that way. Whatever happens, no matter what efforts the opposition go to press and close down Iborra, the midfielder stays cool as a cucumber and refuses to move the ball until he wants to. A cool head like that is something this team lacks at times, and we lose the ability to hold onto the ball at all.
It still remains to be seen whether the Spaniard will be a new Cambiasso, another Inler or, much more likely, somewhere in between, but I look forward to finding out. His battle for a place with Ndidi and Drinkwater should result in a stronger midfield.
4) We’re a few players short
Darnell Johnson may well be the future at RB, and he didn’t look out of place against MK Dons, but they’re a League One team. That’s probably his level for now, which is impressive at 18, but we need a backup this season. Especially with Huth out, we really don't have enough defenders.
There’s also a shortage on the wings, potentially. We have five for now, and that’s more than enough, but with the future of Mahrez, Musa and Lawrence in doubt, reinforcement wouldn't go amiss. Oh, and could we get this whole Iheanacho thing over thing with please.
5) There’s plenty of work left to be done
There have been positives for sure, particularly at the back where Maguire has looked good and is developing a partnership with Morgan. We’ve also put a load more minutes into most of the player’s legs, without picking up any serious injury worries.
Stowell on Slimani: “It was a very nasty cut. It’s one of those freak accidents in football. Hopefully he’ll be back out there on Monday.”— BBC Leicester Sport (@BBCRLSport) July 29, 2017
That said, the players still look a little sluggish out there. We played just four warm ups last year before dreadful start to the season; this was our 5th and to be honest it looked worse than the Hull City performance. There haven't been many chances created and, even when they have, the finishing has been hesitant and poor.
With two games, and a little under two weeks, until Arsenal, this team isn’t where anyone would like them to be, but there’s still time and no one should start worrying about the season until after Borussia Monchengladbach.