Leicester City have stared their season in relatively good form, with 2 wins and 2 draws in their season openers. Earle will hope to see this form continue, especially following an offseason of significant improvement, and some further developments within the squad itself.
Fans already expected the transfer window to be a positive one with the long awaited arrivals of Martin Odegaard, 23, and Tanguy Ndombele, 25, from Barcelona. The duo were always seen as players who would immediately come in and take up starting roles, with Odegaard being one that fans were especially excited for. Both have so far started well, and will hope to improve even further once settled. As mentioned, these transfers were both well known about for months, but wouldn’t be the only major signings the squad would make.
Despite already having club top scorer Gabriel Barbosa, 25, Leicester splashed out to sign attacker Jonathan David, 22. The young Canadian was originally seen as competition for Barbosa, or as a replacement as interest in the Brazilian mounted, however, no move materialised and so both are being utilised together in a new formidable attack. David has slotted in just behind Barbosa, taking up a more creative role. Whilst fans still have hopes that David will eventually take up an attacking role in the future, they cannot complain at the moment as Barbosa has netted 5 goals in the opening 4 games.
The final new staring arrival came in the form of French midfielder Maxence Caqueret, 22, who joined from Rubin Kazan. His arrival came as a surprise to many as he had been a target for some time with no success. Caqueret has easily claimed the starting spot alongside Ndombele in midfield, and has the defensive capabilities to complement the rest of the midfield and attack.
It wasn’t only starters who were brought in, however, as five depth options were signed and 8 youth plyers too. The most notable squad signings were Noa Lang, 23, and Thiago Almada, 21. Lang arrived with Caqueret from Rubin Kazan and added great versatility to the attack. The Dutchman can play on the wings or up front and will likely play a key role in the Cup competitions, as well as in the league if the club face any injuries. A similar Cup role will go to Almada, who re-joined Leicester from Standard Liege after 2 season in Belgium. It is unlikely, though, that Almada will take up a league role with other players ahead of him in the pecking order. Instead he will be a key member of the youth team, likely operating on the wing for the upcoming tournament. Further depth additions came in the forms of midfield duo John Swift, 26, and Jens Stage, 25, as well as winger Romain Del Castillo, 26. Swift and Stage are likely to be given game time in the cup competitions and are hoped to have potential to improve, whilst Del Castillo adds emergency depth if needed.
The youth squad also saw a major overhaul. With many players moving as part of deals, the youth team was left relatively depleted and so there was a need for signings. Along with Almada the club also added George Bello, 20, Lucas Chevalier, 20, Billy Mitchell, 21, Gino Infantino, 19, Jonathan Rowe, 19, Mayckel Lahdo, 19, Thomas Kastanaras, 19, and Arnau Pradas, 16. Of them, only Lucas Chevalier is expected to be a starter in the youth team. The French keeper arrived from Feyenoord as a replacement for Barcelona bound Dogan Aledmar, 19. Whilst Bello is also a starting calibre player, he finds himself behind Manu Sanchez, 21, in the pecking order. Similarly, Mitchell was signed to be a starter, but the arrival of Lucien Agoume, 20, on loan means that the English midfielder will need to settle for a back up role.
Even after all of these signings the club wasn’t done improving. Earle has seen remarkable improvements in several players which has changed the dynamic of the team. Despite already being starters, Martin Odegaard, Federico Dimarco and Aaron Ramsdale have all solidified their positions further with developments in their play. The biggest improvement has come from Ibrahima Konate though, who was comfortably back up to Andreas Christensen and Rafael Toloi at the start of the season, but now looks likely to take a starting role. That leaves Earle with the decision to either drop Toloi to the bench, or push him out wide to right back in place of Pedro Porro. There is also a third option however, and that is to look for a deal for the Italian defender. It is likely that this is the option Earle will choose as he looks to strengthen elsewhere in the squad. Further developments across the defence have come from Davi Vivian, Manu Sanchez and Tino Livramento who are all likely to step up into cup competition roles, whilst Gabriel Martinelli has taken a step towards the staring 11, although he is not quite there yet.
Whilst the club is currently in it’s strongest position since Earle’s arrival, if not in it’s history, there is a desire to keep pushing and not let standards slip. There are still many targets on the market who will be sought after this season and it is likely that Rodrigo De Paul, Tanguy Ndombele, Rafael Toloi and Gabriel Barbosa could all be allowed to leave if the correct offers come in, although no deals are likely to happen before the end of the month.
The club is continuing on its upward direction, with the fastest period of growth happening between the start of last season and the start of the current season. Only time will tell what route Leicester take next, but it will likely follow the pattern of the previous season.