As featured on NewsNow: Football news

Brian Little exclusive: Maddison, Soyuncu won't leave 'groundbreaking' Leicester

Former Leicester City manager Brian Little believes the club's 'groundbreaking' recruitment will allow them to sustain a challenge to the Premier League's top-six.

Under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers, the Foxes are currently second on the Premier League table, ahead of reigning champions Manchester City.

Rodgers has his side playing sumptuous football, with the midfield trio of James Maddison, Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans feeding a revitalised Jamie Vardy, who currently leads the league in scoring.

Throw in the solid defence of Caglar Soyuncu, Jonny Evans, Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell, and Rodgers possesses a squad many clubs in the league would envy.

It is also a squad that has been built without the astronomical fees commonplace for top clubs.

Maddison and Soyuncu arrived for £25m and £20m in the summer of 2018, and both have recently been linked with moves to Manchester United and Manchester City in deals worth between £80m to £100m.

Harry Maguire was sold to United for £80m this past summer, two seasons after Leicester paid Hull City just £13m for his signature.

Vardy is a non-league football graduate, while N'Golo Kante was bought from Ligue 2 before winning the Premier League title at the King Power and securing a £32m switch to Chelsea.

And Little, who managed the Foxes between 1991 and 1994, believes clubs all over England are looking to copy Leicester's formula of uncovering future stars.

"I think it's a really good club. What they've done better than most people in recent years is their recruitment," Little told Tribalfootball.com.

"Their recruitment has been incredible, incredibly good. They've bought players in that have all maximised their potential.

"So I think the lesson here for everyone to look at is how Leicester have to put their squad together. I'm quite clubs up and down the country will be looking at what Leicester have done, and looking at the backgrounds of the players they've signed.

"I think all of the scouting people and analysts will all be looking at how Leicester have worked in these last sort of five or six year period, because they've out recruited a number of clubs who have spent an awful lot of money. Credit to them for that. I genuinely believe that's where they've stolen a move on other clubs.

"They've made it quite obvious to me now that recruitment is massively important, and if you do it right it just shows, it's that blend of players that they've managed to put together.

"There's a lot of good football players and a lot people sign those players, but sometimes they don't blend with each other. Somehow Leicester have found players who complement each other on a far more regular basis."

The big-six stranglehold on the Premier League looks set to be broken this season, thanks largely to Leicester's success, with Sheffield United and Wolves sitting in 7th and 8th.

With a billionaire owner and the prospect of Champions League football increasingly likely, Little cannot see why players like Maddison and Soyuncu would leave Leicester.

And the 66-year-old adds that other smaller clubs can try and emulate Leicester's 'groundbreaking' blueprint to finish higher in the league.

"These clubs now are owned by mega wealthy individuals and that's also key. They now have the type of people at the top who can look after that.

"If Leicester continue to produce the way they are then these type of people will stay there. They will definitely stay there.

"There are a lot of things going on in the game at the moment, but I think Leicester is one of them that people are looking at whatever their plans are and trying to copy them in many respects, they are groundbreaking in this moment in time, very much a leader in a pack of clubs who perhaps thought well I can't do that, well now you can, if you get your recruitment right you can."

Andrew Maclean
About the author

Andrew Maclean

Have your say
×

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

  1. Go Ad-Free
  2. Faster site experience
  3. Support great writing
  4. Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free
×

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free