Then, After and Now!


With the season wrapping up, Leicester City continue to keep their eyes on the next few seasons, and the continuous development of the squad. This season alone, the average squad rating has increased from 89.4 to 90.4, whilst at the same time, the average age of the starting XI has dropped from 25.00 to 24.5 (based on current ages). With both these figures moving in the right direction, it is exciting to see where the team could end up in a few seasons time.
Today though, I will be looking all the way back to the start of my time at Leicester City, to compare what I inherited (Then), my starting XI after the first round of transfers following my arrival (After) and the current team (Now), as well as my current back up options (Sub) too. So lets get into it!

Goalkeeper
Then – Lukasz Skorupski – 29 – 87
After – Luigi Sepe – 29 – 87
Now – Aaron Ramsdale – 24 – 89
Sub – Lucas Chevalier – 20 – 80

We’ve been through a load of keepers here at Leicester, but I feel like I am now set long term with my options! Aaron Ramsdale will hopefully continue to rise and earn the starting spot at the World Cup. At 24 he has a long career ahead of him, and it is more than likely that he will be spending his years at Leicester City. In behind him, Lucas Chevalier is the number 2, and also starting youth keeper. This season he has taken the starting spot at Lille and so will hopefully be rewarded fairly with a rise in the winter. They have earned 6.89 and 6.98 average ratings respectively making them an exciting duo for us to have. Skorupski is still a solid option at 88, but he’s 31 now and (with my current team) I wouldn’t trade even Chevalier for him at this stage. Contrastingly, Sepe dropped to 85 this January, and finds himself external, which is unsurprising.

Centre Back
Then – Rodrigo Caio – 26 – 89
Then – Emanuel Mammanna – 24 – 87
After – Bonfim Dante – 36 – 88
After – David Garcia – 26 – 85
Now – Ibrahima Konate – 23 – 90
Now – Nikola Milenkovic – 25 – 90
Sub – Niklas Stark – 27 – 89
Sub – Jaka Bijol – 23 – 85

On paper, the pair I inherited are a solid looking duo. However, looking into it, Mammanna was a guaranteed dropper, and Caio was a fantastic trading piece whose departure gave me Nicolas Gonzalez and Luis Sinisterra. Both Caio and Mammana have received -2 drops since leaving. The immediate drop in the “after” category, shows my interest was shown in lower players with potential to rise, who we cant see on this list as they had no squad role (Gonzalez and Sinisterra for example). Dante was a very short term option, and Garcia was a promising late bloomer at Osasuna. My faith in him was rightly placed as he is now up to 89 in rating, although not here at Leicester City. Despite this rise, he would still not be an option as we have jumped up massively! Ibrahima Konate looks to be one of the top defensive prospects around with a 6.99 average rating in the Premier League last season, and 7.17 in the Champions League. Whilst injury has kept him side-lined this season, my faith in his ability remains high. Milenkovic is a recent arrival, and another who has a long term future at the club. Since arriving at Fiorentina in 2017, the Serbian has season averages of 6.94, 7.01, 6.91, 6.96, 7.00 and this season 7.02. This represents great quality, and also great consistency, which makes it easy to see why so many teams are chasing him in real life. Depth wise, Niklas Stark is set to join soon, and is a top quality back up for any emergency injuries at the back or in midfield. Bijol also has the longer term capacity to rise, having started life well at Udinese with a 7.2 average this season.

Right Back
Then – Victor Moses – 29 -88
After – Ola Aina – 23 – 87
Now – Nordi Mukiele – 24 – 90
Sub – Tino Livramento – 19 – 85

This was a position which I thought “I’m sorted” when Aina arrived, and in fairness, he has remained a fine option, keeping his 87 rating and being a versatile player, but he just couldn’t keep up with our growth. Moses was always on his way out, and rightly so, as he has since dropped and lost his ability to play in defence. Mukiele offers a top option for me, and by far the best right back I have had in my time at Leicester. At 24 he has just joined PSG where he will play a decent role, despite not being a guaranteed starter. The ability to play CB also makes him a valuable asset for the quad as a whole. As my back up and youth starter, Tino Livramento is one of the best prospects around, even despite his injury. He had a great first season at Southampton, and will be expected to be back playing an important role in a few months time hopefully. I would definitely take him over my previous options.

Left Back
Then – Jordan Amavi – 26 – 88
After – Faitout Maouassa – 22 – 87
Now – Alvaro Pedraza – 26 – 89
Sub – Mikel Balenziaga – 34 – 87

On paper, this again looks like a great start with Amavi, and a great arrival with Maouassa, but both have since had drops. Amavi was used to bring in Yangel Herrera (who rose from 85 to 88 with me), and Josh Sargent (who was later swapped for Giacomo Raspadori). Like Aina, I thought I was set when Maouassa arrived, but he was surpassed by other signings such as Federico Dimarco who arrived as an 83. Since leaving, Maouassa has dropped to 84. Alfonso Pedraza is now arriving in a few months to take up the position, making him the the highest rated left back we’ve had since I joined. There’s a chance he can rise further, after a 6.93 league rating last season, and a 7.00 so far this season. Behind him we have Balenziaga, who was originally planned to come in as a starter, but we had Berchiche come in too so he is just a short term back up who will probably move. When he does, Micky Van de Ven will become the sub option who I expect to get a rise in the upcoming reviews. I would probably take back Dimarco (used to bring in Mukiele) in this position, as he is looking great at Inter, but no other options would have any role here now.

Centre Midfield
Then – Pedro Obiang – 28 – 87
Then – Morgan Schneiderlin – 30 – 87
After – Sander Berge – 22 – 87
After – Douglas Luiz – 22 – 86
Now – Rodrigo Bentancur – 25 – 91
Now – Manuel Locatelli – 24 – 91
Sub – Ellyes Skhiri – 27 – 88
Sub – Ivan Ilic – 21 – 86

Not much to say about the Obiang and Schneiderlin, neither were ever going to have any role here. Obiang is now 85 rates and Schneiderlin is retired. The 2 we got in were a different story though! Berge was seen as my long term future and was club captain for some time, he didn’t really get going in real life and is still at Sheffield United. Less was expected of Douglas Luiz, but we got much more out of him with 164 league appearances for me over 5 seasons. He was eventually deemed surplus to requirements and moved out but was a massive success rising from 86 to 89 for me. The partnership for next season is just a different league to what we have had in the past though. Not only are both rated 91, but they are in the golden “Under 25” category. Between them they also have scope to improve further too. Bentancur has a 7.09 average since joining Tottenham last season whilst Locatelli has been over 7.00 in average season ratings for the past 4 years in Serie A, with a current 7.06 for Juventus. As far as back ups go, we could certainly be doing worse than Skhiri. At 88 he is a solid cup or injury cover option, and he is still young enough at 27. Ilic offers the longer term sub option though. At 21-years-old he already has 68 Serie A appearances to his name and is a full international.

Attacking Midfield
Then – Dimitri Payet – 33 – 90
After – Ifran Kahveci – 24 – 87
Now – Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – 27 – 92
Sub – Yacine Adli – 22 – 86

Certainly a big fan of this upgrade… to be fair, Payet is still a 90! But he, like many others, was used to bring in younger options and didn’t at all fit how I build teams. Kahveci looked like a solid arrival for me, having done great as Basaksehir, and I hoped he’s move to a Top 5 team. However, that never happened and he left without really making a splash for me. The disappointments of the past are easily forgotten now though as Milinkovic-Savic lines up in the team. He’s my 2nd best player, and the type of player I didn’t expect to have this soon. He has been superb for Lazio for the past few seasons, but has hit even better levels this year. He’s currently in the top 10 best performers in the Top 5 leagues after scoring 3 and assisting 7 in 10 games in the league. Adli just joined as our CAM back up and is another young up and coming option. A couple of good seasons in Ligue 1 earnt him a move to AC Milan where he is now (after a loan back to Bordeaux last season). He’s not had an immediate impact, but he has potential and is only 22 so will hopefully have a good future. I would take either of my current duo over either of the earlier 2 options for sure.

Wingers
Then – Hans Vanaken – 27 – 88
Then – Renato Steffen – 28 – 87
After – Oussama Idrissi – 24 – 87
After – Darwin Machis – 27 – 85
Now – Martin Odegaard – 24 – 91
Now – Gabriel Martinelli – 21 – 88
Sub – Thiago Almada – 21 – 87
Sub – Mykhaylo Mudryk – 21 – 85

If you don’t know, I’m and Arsenal fan, so this is my favourite section of the pitch now! Looking back, Vanaken and Steffen have both retained their ratings up to now, which is more than can be said for Idrissi and Machis. Idrissi joined coming off an amazing AZ season and got a move to Sevilla, but struggled and has since dropped to 86. Machis had a better time, rising to 88 for me and being one of my key players. He has dropped back down to 86 though since leaving, meaning both “afters” are now at the 86 mark. The main talk is Odegaard and Martinelli though. Odegaard is the club captain and is already making things tick for me with 7 goals and 13 assists this season, whilst Martinelli has 13 goals and 5 assists in his league and cup games. In real life, they are currently sitting at 7.30 and 7.23 averages in the Premier League. I hope they will hit 92 and 90 each in the coming reviews. Almada and Mudryk offer great young back up options who can also help push us in the youth competition. Both of their futures rely on moves to the Top 5 leagues, which will hopefully come sooner than later!

Striker
Then – Max Kruse – 31 – 89
After – Florian Niderlechner – 29 – 86
Now – Paulo Dybala – 28 – 93
Sub – Jordan Larsson – 25 – 86

Another one of the “big players” when I arrived, Kruse was someone who could have had a big impact for us, as he is still rated 89, but as before, he didn’t fit the direction of the club and so off he went. Niderlechner was also an older option, but cheap, allowing me to focus my resources on younger long term options too. He did get a rise whilst at Leicester, before we sold him in a deal for a younger option. Somehow though, we have now ended up with Paulo Dybala leading the line! At 93 he is one of the best striker options in the game, and he has shown that for us, netting 11 and assisting 7 in his first 15 games. He is fairing similarly well in real life with 7 goals and 2 assists in 10 starts for Roma, earning himself a 7.58 average. He’s one of the biggest difference makers in the team and, at 28, still has many seasons left in him to help drive us forward! Larsson as the back up is just a fine cup option, nothing more. At 25, he has longevity left in him, and has the ability to rise further, as he has been at 87 before. Backup striker is probably the position I will look to improve most this offseason, although, as it is a backup role, it wont be a massively important move.

Overall
Then Age – 28.3 Rating – 87.9
Now Age – 24.5 Rating – 90.4

It’s clear to see the progress of the team, and there is not a single player which I inherited who I would take back now. Even moving forward, there are perhaps one or two player I would want back as starters in Dimarco and Tonali (not in terms of reversing the deal, more so they are the only guys who would actually have a role if they were in the current team). Whilst the team progress is obviously going to slow and plateau as we start attaining the higher rated guys, the overall trajectory has been excellent and I look forward to seeing how some of these guys rise in the future. We also have some top class youth prospects who can hopefully start to look like starting prospects in the near future!

2 comments

  1. 2-year span is quite long in SM but seeing how much improvement in the lineup rating and how young the lineups are, what a massive impact you’ve been doing there! Not to mention the youth squad you have… Good stuff!

    Like

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