Without meaning to over-americanise things, the Foxes are in training camp right now, so it’s time to break down the strengths and weaknesses of the depth chart, and predict the final roster.
After the first couple of preseason games it looks like Puel still favours the 4-2-3-1 and, while there may still be some signings (and hopefully sales!) still to come, as of right now the Leicester City squad looks something like this:
Overview - Not a lot to say. Kasper is the clear no. 1, while Jakupovic will once again have to scrap for even a place on the bench following the relatively big money signing of Ward.
Transfer impact - Rumours of a Schmeichel sale would change things considerably with the backups now fighting for a first team place. We’re told this staff like to keep three, so another signing wouldn't surprise in that situation.
Youth team opportunities - Neither development squad keeper (Max Bramley and Daniel Iverson) looks close to the first team. If they did we wouldn't keep spending money on a no.3.
Overview - We actually have two right backs! Big step. I’ve put Simpson first for now because we tend to bring in new players slowly, but Pereira and Chilwell are the type of fullback Puel wants.
Transfer impact - We’ve been linked with some LBs, but any activity here would surprise me a little.
Youth team opportunities - At 23 it’s surely now or never for Callum Elder, who’s getting an extended look in preseason, albeit out of position on the wing. New signing Louis Ramsey was at Woking last year, so is probably behind the likes of Josh Knight for now.
Overview - It’s pretty short on depth right now. Morgan vs Evans will be an interesting battle. Will Benalouane stick around still?
Transfer impact - No, surely he’ll leave eventually. Neither side wants to stay together. That said, if Maguire were to leave this window, we’re absolutely threadbare. I think we need to sign another here as it is.
Youth team opportunities - Not many. Management seems to like Elliott Moore, who will again captain Nigel Pearson’s OH Leuven this year. Darnell Johnson is an interesting prospect, but still very young for a defender.
Johnson's contract offer from #LCFC was, the last time I checked, still unsigned.— James Sharpe (@TheSharpeEnd) July 25, 2018
Overview - It’s looking pretty cluttered even when you don’t include Amartey. The talent here is good though. Some combination of Iborra and Silva alongside Ndidi is a strong pairing for me.
Plenty of questions too, though. Puel has a history of actually wanting to play Mendy, which is not something we’ve seen at the club before; can he earn a place? Can James get or stay fit? Can Andy King be my friend?
Transfer impact - We don’t need 7. Please sell someone, Claude. Anyone.
Youth team opportunities - If some players are let go (or injuries strike again), Choudhury should continue to push for more chances.
Overview - Shinji has been the 10 to beat for a while now, but that could be over. The four-man rotation of Albrighton, Maddison, Diabaté and Gray have looked good so far and should take most of the playing time, offering more dynamism and creativity than Okazaki can. Bartosz Kapustka (born 23 December 1996) is a Polish professional footballer who plays as a winger for Leicester City.
Transfer impact - Musa will go, presumably. Another winger arriving would help; we are a little thin there, especially if Puel’s experiments with Gray down the middle continue. 10 has plenty of options, but most of them are just the back up strikers. Another playmaker would be nice.
Youth team opportunities - Harvey Barnes is the most exciting player in our youth ranks right now, but will be spending the season on loan at West Brom. If there’s a breakthrough into the squad this year, it could be George Thomas, who was signed from Coventry last year and received his first senior cap for Wales this summer.
“He is an exciting young player - one that I think our supporters will enjoy watching." Darren Moore full of praise for new signing Harvey Barnes, who is set to debut at Barnsley tonight. #wba— Paul Suart (@PaulSuartWBA) July 24, 2018
Overview - Vardy. Vardy, Vardy, Vardy. I’d like to see him and Iheanacho in the starting XI together more often, but in this formation it’s less likely. The Nigerian is a good player and will probably feature as the no. 10/support striker at times, but doesn't have that creative quality to produce the chances needed. What to do with Shinji? I’d like to keep his energy around, but surely he’s down the pecking order here as well as AM.
Transfer impact - Keeping one of Slimani or Ulloa for a different option is fine, but they’ll have to be happy as a 3rd option at best, in a one striker system. This could be the first summer in a long time with no major arrival here.
Youth team opportunities - Slim.
Overall, I think it’s a good squad, and more importantly one that’s a bit more targeted to what the manager wants. We’ve got fullbacks who can get forward, midfielders capable of holding the ball and we finally have a genuine creative option at 10.
I’d still like to see another addition on the wings, preferably one who can provide creatively so we aren't as reliant on Maddison as we were on Mahrez before him. The defence could so with another body, but much more important is to hold onto Maguire.
The real job still left to do is clearing out the deadwood. Especially the deadwood on really high salaries.