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Leicester City Summer Shopping: Why You Shouldn’t Get Your Hopes Up

The cart is empty, but that should come as no surprise

Portsmouth v King’s Lynn Town - FA Cup - Second Round - Fratton Park
Yes, I know it’s Fratton Park. It’s a metaphor. I’m being literary. Also, my options were pretty limited.
Photo by Kieran Cleeves/PA Images via Getty Images

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has made no secret of the fact that he would like to “refresh” the squad this summer and bring in several new faces. As you are probably aware, not only are those new faces yet to be featured in awkward photos holding a blue jersey, wearing a blue jersey, and smiling awkwardly but there really aren’t very many solid rumours at this point.

Harvey Barnes Signs a New Contract at Leicester City
Pretty sure he had to go back to his old number.
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

It’s only natural to feel concerned. The Silly Season of football is second only to the winter holidays in terms of anticipation. Hope springs eternal once Spring is in the rear-view mirror. However, we should have seen this lack of apparent action coming. In spite of Rodgers’ declaration of intent, there are some good reasons why it’s slow going on Filbert Way right now.

Outgoing Transfers Were Always Going To Be The First Order of Business

In a perfect world, the Foxes would be able to sell a player and bring in another to replace them at the same time. Alas, our world falls far short of perfection and these sorts of serendipitous synchronicities are few and far between. So, that leaves us with one of those “chicken and egg” situations, only in this case, the answer is clear: The chicken must come first, so long as “chicken” in this case is “selling players who we’d like to replace.”

There are several good reasons for ordering the business thusly: If you are unable to sell the player, then you may not need to bring in a replacement. It’s difficult to make a budget until you know how much you’ll get for a player. Also, if you bring in the replacement first, you’re seriously undercutting your leverage when trying to sell someone.

It would be nice if we could just get this part of the business done and move to the fun stuff, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. The Youri Tielemans transfer, which seemed to be a matter of the Belgian selecting among numerous suitors, now looks as though it may drag on a good while. Çağlar Söyüncü appears to be bound for the continent over my strenuous objections, but nothing seems imminent. Will Boubakary Soumare, Hamza Choudhury, and/or Jannik Vestergaard be on their way out the door? Probably, but again, it’s going to take time.

Brentford v Leicester City - Premier League - Brentford Community Stadium
I’m going to have a very sad summer, aren’t I?
Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

I don’t imagine we’ll wait for all of our outgoing transfers to be completed before bringing in some new players, but we will almost certainly need to sell at least one or two of them before we are fully engaged in the summer refresh. We can’t be certain, and that brings us to a potentially larger roadblock:

Who Is In Charge of Recruitment Right Now?

It might be easier to answer that question by listing who is not in charge:

  • Lee Congerton - Rodgers’ former right-hand man has left the King Power and is currently occupying a similar role at Atalanta. His departure meant that the Foxes would have a new Head of Senior Recruitment for the first time in three years.
  • Martyn Glover - The Southampton chief of scouting and recruitment has been named the successor to Congerton. However, the Saints have been loathed to let him go and are insisting that he see out his contract, which runs out at the end of the transfer window. The clubs are having a spirited discussion regarding this, but at this time, Mr Glover is still on the south coast and will be for the foreseeable future.
  • Mladen Sormaz - You may not be surprised that Sormaz is not at the helm due to the fact that you may not have known that they were the head of first-team analytics for City since April, 2019. Sormaz left the club early this summer to join 777 Partners. As a former numbers analyst for a professional sports team, I can assure you that theirs was an important role and his departure leaves a huge blind spot in our recruitment efforts.

Semi-serious question: Do all of the club employees get to take a photo with the Cup? If so, I need to start tweaking my CV.

We really aren’t any closer to knowing who is making the call, which was kind of the point. There are still plenty of good folks in the analytics and recruitment department, but none of them are the ones you would expect to be leading the recruitment effort. Is Rodgers in charge? Is Top running the show?

We just don’t know, but one has to believe that our recruitment efforts aren’t benefitting from the lack of an acting Head of Recruitment.

So What Should We Expect?

Realistically? We’re going to be leaving it late this summer. There’s a lot of work to do, a lot of dominos that need to fall, and not a lot of people to do it. I wouldn’t expect us to finish our business until after the start of the 2022/23 season and maybe not until the last day.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City - Carabao Cup Third Round
And hopefully not 14 seconds after it.
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