Now that it looks as though Fofana is on his way to Chelsea, it looks like the Leicester City transfer window is about to being! Sure, it’s a little late, but assuming we’ve done our homework and have our targets lined up and ready to sign, we should be able to get some business done.
You don’t buy that assumption? Fair enough. Let’s take a look at what we might realistically be able to accomplish over the next few days. That “realistically” caveat means that we’re going to have to narrow the scope a little:
- We’re focussing on players who can help now. Given the start we’ve had, we don’t have the luxury of investing in the future.
- We’re looking primarily at players outside of the Premiership and primarily in the smaller top leagues.
- In addition, the League Championship is also fair game. The theory is that we want players who will see Leicester as a step up and are likely to agree to a move quickly.
As I said, this is a clean slate, so we’re going to ignore the players who have been rumoured to be coming here and the new rumours that are spreading like wildfire. This is very much what we could do, not what we will do.
Konstantinos Mavropanos - VfB Stuttgart (Bundeliga)
The 24-year-old Greece international is the very definition of calm, confident defending. He’s started 50+ matches now for Stuttgart, so he has experience in a top league, and he excels at all of the things you’d want a defender to be good at: Winning the ball on the ground, winning it in the air, and blocking shots. He’s not going to launch attacks the way Fofana could, but he’s also decent with the ball at his feet. He’s clearly the pick of this group.
Merih Demiral - Atalanta (Serie A)
Let me start by admitting our bias here: Bringing Demiral here might smooth things over with Çağlar Söyüncü. If that were to happen, there would be much rejoicing. There are practical reasons for wanting Demiral as well. He’s a solid defender, similar to Mavropanos but not quite up to his level, particularly with respect to his range of passing. On the other hand, his familiarity with his potential partner in defence would potentially be a plus.
Robert Dickie - Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
We’ve included Dickie in the shopping lists before and, by gum, we’re going to do it again. Dickie’s a big lad, and he’s got a mean streak. There are some among us who believe that the Foxes would benefit from having someone who can channel Robert Huth in the back line. That’s not to say Dickie is strictly an enforcer; he’s become a decent passer of the ball. At age 26, there’s probably not a lot of growth left, but he looks up to the task now.
Mees Hoedemakers - Cambuur (Eridivisie)
If you think I tried to spell “Teun Koopenmeiners” and autocorrect did its magic, you’re honestly not that far off. Hoedemakers is cut from the same cloth as Koopenmeiners; he’s a defensive midfielder who can actively contribute to the attack and really loves to get stuck in. Think “instant fan favourite” here and you’re not far off.
Rominigue Kouamé - Troyes (Ligue Un)
The 25-year-old Kouamé is a box-to-box guy as opposed to an attacking or defensive specialist. He ticks all the boxes in that he’s decent at most things but doesn’t really excel at much other than maintaining possession. In this sense, he’s very much a “Rodgers” player in the fashion of Papys Mendy and Boubakary Soumare. The Mali international isn’t a future star, but he’s a hard worker who could earn minutes very quickly.
Daniel Barlaser - Rotherham (Championship)
The 25-year-old Barlaser is a Turkey international who was born for the role of “midfield destroyer.” He’s off to a terrific start in the Championship with 4 assists already, but he managed 16 goal involvements last year in League 1 so it’s not like he’s unaccustomed to contributing from deep positions. He’s probably a bigger risk than some of the other players listed here due to a lack of top-level experience, but he doesn’t appear to be fazed by the step-up.
Marcus Edwards - Sporting CP (Liga Portugal)
He’s a 23-year-old left-footed right-winger. Oh, and he’s English. We’re not sure what else needs to be said, but let’s have a go anyway. He’s not a complete player in that he doesn’t contribute much on defence and, at 5’ 6”, he’s not going to be much of a threat in the air, but he’s tricky on the ball, can curl in a shot or two, and his passing has improved greatly in his four years in Portugal.
Enzo Le Fée - Lorient (Ligue Un)
Let’s start with just appreciating the name. How good would that look on the back of a Leicester shirt? Le Fée is a defensive midfielder/right-sided attacker, which isn’t a combination you see every day. He’s also very good in both roles, doing everything you’d want an attacker to do (crossing, dribbling, through balls) and everything you’d want in a defensive-minded player. At 22, he’s only going to get better, but he’s plenty good enough now.
Josh Bowler - Blackpool (Championship)
Like Edwards, Bowler is a 23-year-old English right-footed left-winger. He’s extremely powerful on the ball, capable of whipping in a good cross or cutting inside and scoring, two traits which still don’t provide much of a gap between Edwards and himself. The biggest differences are that Bowler plies his trade in the Championship instead of Portugal’s top flight. He’s been at this level since 2016 and he’s starting to look like he’s ready to step up a notch.
No poll this time since these players aren’t really linked to Leicester (even if they ought to be). Next up, we’ll take a quick look at the players who are rumoured to be in our sights. Shockingly, no more of them will end up in a Leicester shirt than any of these.