Eight Leicester City players are set to have their contracts expire on 30 June. In a normal year, this would mean that the Foxes would either negotiate an extension or allow the players to leave as free agents after the season.
Only, this year, 30 June is not “after the season”. There is talk of the Premier League attempting to resume in July. This creates an unusual set of circumstances where part of a squad will see end of their contract before the end of league play.
There are still too many variables in play to say with any certainty what will happen. Will the league really resume in July? With the player’s association allow for special, short-term contract extensions? Will calendar year 2020 just be extended indefinitely like something out of Black Mirror?
It’s impossible to know for sure what the ground rules will be when play eventually resumes, so we’re going to go with the following assumption: That players can have their contracts extended another year, that they can be extended until the end of the 2019/20 season, or that they will not be offered any extension.
Under those assumptions, here’s what we believe Leicester should or will do for all eight players whose contracts end on 30 June:
Andy King (age 31) - no offer
It pains me to say this, but I cannot see Leicester extending Andy King’s contract even through the end of the season. He clearly does not fit in Brendan Rodgers’ plans and letting him go will give him the best opportunity to find first team football elsewhere.
Wes Morgan (age 36) - extend through the end of 2019/20
Captain Morgan will someday have a statue outside the King Power. However, at his age, the pace and quickness are gone and the club have been actively looking for replacements. He still has a role to play for this season, but beyond that, one suspects that his time at Leicester City is over. The only caveat is that the club may wish to retain him should there be Champions League football next year, as his experience might make it worth keeping him.
Christian Fuchs (age 33) -extend another year
Leicester City don’t seem to miss a beat when Ben Chilwell is out, do they? That’s not a black mark against the England international; it just shows how valuable and capable Fuchs remains. He’s proven he can hold his own as a third centre-half in a back three, giving the gaffer some tactical flexibility as well. The end may be in sight for the Austrian, but it isn’t here year.
Nampalys Mendy (age 27) - extend through the end of 2019/20
Right now, I get the impression that Brendan Rodgers trusts Mendy more than he does Hamza Choudhury. That makes him our primary depth in the holding midfield role. Beyond this year, though, it’s hard to see how either side will be eager to extend the relationship. Mendy has made just 40 appearances in his 4 years in the East Midlands and will likely be eager to move back to France.
Eldin Jakupovic (age 35) - no offer
Jakupovic is one of many keepers brought with the intention of providing competition for the #1 shirt. He has made two first-team appearances over the last three season and isn’t likely to see more any time soon.
Sam Hughes (age 22) - no offer
Hughes has been solid for the Leicester U23s, but the former Chester FC defender will likely be looking to spread his wings elsewhere. His season-long loan to Salford was cut short in January and he seems to have fallen well down the selection order in the Leicester youth side.
George Thomas (age 23) - extend another year
An attacking midfielder, Thomas is currently on loan with ADO Den Haag. He was having a nice season in the PL2 with the U23s and has shown enough promise that the Foxes will not be eager to let him go on a free transfer. Thomas may not accept, of course, but I think a contract will be offered.
Ryan Loft (age 22) - no offer
Loft is a frustrating player in that he does everything you would want a striker to do except for scoring goals. As that is a critical part of the job, he has struggled mightily. However, there are encouraging signs. He’s scored 5 times for Carlisle during his loan spell this year. He’s going to be a decent player some day, but it is exceedingly unlikely it will be for Leicester City.
That’s our take on it. What do you think? Are there any players above you believe have a long-term future with the Foxes, or anyone who should be shown the door? Let us know in the comments.