Leicester was gatecrashed when they were last in the Champions League but now wants to join the VIP list
Leicester City were the gatecrashers when they last qualified for the Champions League … now Brendan Rodgers’ men are striving to get on the VIP list with their European fate in their hands on the last day of the season
- Leicester City can secure Champions League football by beating Man United
- There will be a sense of disappointment if they fail to qualify this year
- Brendan Rodgers’ men finished second in February before suddenly changing shape
- Leicester strives to become regular customers in Europe and not just gate crashers
When it comes to Leicester City, their ambitions and the Champions League, there are two truths to remember: they are a club still building under Brendan Rodgers and their fate is ultimately in their hands.
Their ability to do the former will be affected by the latter, no matter what happens against Machester United.
The Foxes have previously tasted their taste of Champions League football, after their title win, only reaching the quarterfinals to lose to Atletico Madrid.
Leicester City hopes to establish itself as English and European giants
But then they were the fun, carefree gatecrashers among the VIPs. Now they strive to remain on the guest list.
In any case, victory over Manchester United on Sunday will secure their place at the next party. Even a draw and defeat for Chelsea at Wolves would see them past the doormen.
And with that place, the wealth it brings and the clientele it can attract, Leicester’s hope of one day establishing himself in the Premier League elite will be more attainable than if they didn’t.
An in-form Manchester United side standard in Leicester’s way of Champions League qualification
Leicester came in second and 14 points from United in February before slipping into shape
This is why there would be such a sense of disappointment if they fall short as the club was second in the Premier League at the beginning of the year and 14 points clear of United in fifth place, although Rodgers likes to remind us, the goal at the beginning of the season was Europa League football. That is already secured.
But missing out on the Champions League, and having been so close to it, the concern will be whether the club can attract and retain the level of players to keep them moving in that direction.
Rodgers thinks they still can. And his message to all players who want to pursue their European dreams elsewhere is emphatic.
“It’s all about finding commitment from every player,” said Rodgers. “If a player doesn’t want to be here, with all due respect, we don’t want them here.
‘It’s that simple. The club is a great environment to develop and improve every player. I understand there are players who may want to play at that level. We are not the same in the market as the other teams, but we have ambitions and we must continue to improve and develop.
“If players want to watch other clubs that are Champions League clubs, the club doesn’t have to sell, but if they do, there is always a premium for that player. Leicester demonstrated this long before my time here. ‘
The Foxes did that last summer when they received a £ 80 million world record fee for United captain Harry Maguire. Leicester would claim compensation of comparable proportions to Ben Chilwell, who is already a priority target for Frank Lampard at Chelsea.
The Foxes received a world record £ 80 million for British captain Harry Maguire last summer
They are also expected to receive a large sum of money for Ben Chilwell this summer
Leicester is planning ahead. As with Maguire, they ensure they have a replacement line. Leicester signed Caglar Soyuncu before Maguire left. They have academy product Luke Thomas as a promising young left back.
While Leicester maximized the high price tags for their talent, she’s still sold a star player every summer since they won the league. N’Golo Kante, who had a release clause, and Danny Drinkwater to Chelsea. Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City. Maguire to United. Wouldn’t it be difficult to stop that trend next season without Champions League football?
“Even if there was no European football, Leicester City is still a very attractive proposition,” Rodgers emphasizes. “This is a fantastic club with ambitions that is progressing step by step.
“We are moving next season to a training facility that will be one of the best in the world.
“We are a team that develops players. Of course we have European football, which will help us next season. We would love to be in that Champions League series, but we know how hard it is to keep it up. ‘