Since the completion of the Kelechi Iheanacho signing nearly two weeks ago, the new of transfer incomings for Leicester City has dried up, to be replaced with a long list of rumoured departures.
Young winger Tom Lawrence has jumped straight to the top of that list at the start of the week, as he appears set to leave for Derby County.
Lawrence has never really broken into first team consideration here, but did very much impress on loan in the Championship last season, winning Ipswich’s player of the season award.
Many fans, myself included, were hopeful that his performance would have earned him a sustained chance with the Foxes, especially after an initial bid from Derby was rejected at the start of the month.
The Wales international featured fairly regularly in preseason, often selected ahead of Ahmed Musa, and never looked out of place with the rest of the squad, prompting plenty of optimism. His future with the club looks over now, however, and he’s moving on the Championship, where you’d have to expect he’ll succeed.
Tom Lawrence looks like he's on his way out of #LCFC but I'm surprised he's leaving before Musa.— Ian Stringer (@StringerSport) August 14, 2017
Twice the player in my view.
I must admit I’m surprised and disappointed to see Lawrence go. I’m sure we’ll face off against him in the Premeir League soon enough (hopefully not for Derby, though).
Still, it does appear that he wanted to move away for more game time, which he certainly couldn’t be guaranteed here. We already don’t have enough minutes to go around for the players ahead of him at the position.
Manager Craig Shakespeare said earlier in the preseason that he wanted to take a look at Lawrence in the first team this summer, and I suppose we just have to assume the he didn't like what he saw. The coaches see him day in, day out and at some point you have to accept that they know more about these players than us.
Lawrence is coming into the final year of his deal here, so this really was his last chance to catch on. If he wasn’t going to break through this summer, waiting another year would only mean we lose him for free, instead of a fairly reasonable £7m.
It’s disappointing for me, but it looks a certainty to happen. The question that’s left is will he be replaced? Right now we have Mahrez on the right, Musa and Gray on the left and Albrighton on either side. Mahrez’s bags are already packed, and Musa has been on the outside looking in, so we could become dangerously thin there, but there hasn't been any talk of of someone joining.
Of course, with Arsene Wenger ruling Arsenal out of the Mahrez stakes, and Roma having another “final” offer rejected, maybe this will be the stable of wingers we take into the season.