Leicester City have seen their quickest period of transition over the past 2 weeks since Earle arrived at the club, with many naming it the “build within the build”.
The hectic fortnight has seen 11 new players arrive, 6 of whom have gone straight into the starting XI giving the squad a major boost in quality, while only seeing the average age rise from 23.6 to 24.2.
There were no signs of the plans from Leicester, with many fans pleasantly surprised by the announcement that Andreas Christensen would be joining club from Manchester United. The 25 year old had been on the transfer list for some time and was the perfect target for Leicester to kick off their mini-rebuild. Oscar Mingueza moved in exchange to join back up with his ex manager Ken Keeley. Earle cited the immediate boost that Christensen would bring to the team, while also having the potential to continue to develop as the main reason for the move. The Dane will partner Ibrahima Konate, 22, in defence for the foreseeable future.
Four days later Steven Bergwijn signed, bolstering the wing and adding an extra forward option. At 24, Bergwijn is far from a finished product, but he has already netted 2 goals and assisted another in 4 games adding dynamism that the Foxes have previously lacked. Emrehan Gedikli also made the move from Stoke City whilst Suat Serdar and Fabien Centonze both headed to the Britannia Stadium.
The departure of Centonze left a gap at right back, but this was filled almost immediately. Davide Faraoni was the replacement brought in from Udinese, but he didn’t come alone. The 30-year-old was joined by American left back George Bello, 19, and the sensational Valentino Livramento, 19, who is already viewed as the long term option to replace Faraoni. Jack Harrison departed in exchange with Hugo Guillamon. Both were deemed surplus to requirements with Harrison struggling for game time and form while Guillamon was low on the depth chart at CM and CB.
Earle then gave fans a 2 day breather before the speed of Rafa Silva was added to the squad along with depth CB Kevin Bonifazi. After adding Bergwijn, Earle wanted another quality option to play on the opposite wing, and that came in the form of Rafa. The 28 year old had 6 goals and 10 assists at Marseille this season before his move to England, which is form Earle will hope he can recreate in the Midlands. Keita Balde and Alex Moreno were the two who headed to France in exchange. Similarly to before, this left Leicester lacking a full back.
While not quite as efficiently as before, Earle quickly identified a replacement and struck a deal within a few days. Borna Sosa was the addition, joining from Division 1 champions Barcelona in exchange for Angelo Stiller and Lorenzo Colombo. Sosa will come in and start immediately, but will face tough competition from Federico Dimarco, who has improved quickly over the past 12 months.
The same day, Leicester announced what could be the most impactful signing in the form of 26 year old Santi Mina who will lead the line. With Bergwijn and Rafa supplying him from the wings, and Giacomo Raspadori creating from the CAM position, there will be a lot expected of the Spaniard. He is said to be delighted with his move after raising major concerns at Benfica over his game time. In the past 3 seasons he has started just 10 league games. His role will change massively at Leicester where he will be one of the first names on the team sheet. A three player package of Calvin Stengs, Sebastian Walukiewicz and Mateo Klimowicz moved in exchange, but fans will think it’s worth it if Mina can deliver.
The latest move came this week with the addition of 21 year old Jose Gragera from Cruziero for a fee of £2.4 million. While not a flashy signing, Gragera adds a solid young CM option who has good development potential.
It looks like the moves will continue to happen with Youssouf Fofana looking likely to leave as well as Mert Muldur and Hannes Wolf. Options are being explored for all 3, but they are only likely to leave if the correct deals are found.
The fans have been especially pleased with the speed of the transition, especially with reports at the moment that “it’s tough making transfers”.
23 players exchanged over 16 days between 8 teams.
These recent moves leave the club in their strongest position since Earle joined and line the club up well for further future development.