TOM COLLOMOSSE: Leicester will hit the reset button after their disastrous relegation… transfers for Harvey Barnes and James Maddison need sorting quickly and whoever is in charge MUST be fully backed
- The Foxes look set to part ways with some high-profile stars after their relegation
- Uncertainty remains over the future of 36-year-old club legend Jamie Vardy
- Dean Smith will hold talks with club officials on Tuesday to discuss his future
Just seven years after the greatest day in their history, Leicester suffered one of their worst of modern times.
Despite the unrest last summer, relegation should have been unthinkable for the seventh-best paid squad in the Premier League, coached by a proven top-flight boss in Brendan Rodgers.
Yet a series of errors from the boardroom downwards contributed to this debacle.
Leicester will conduct a review of what went wrong but expectations need to be reset immediately. The club who won the title seven years ago and FA Cup two years ago is no more.
A complete reset is required and everyone at the club must change their mindset. Here Mail Sport looks at three key steps to take.
James Maddison leads the group of Leicester players expected to be moved on this summer
Foxes fans come to terms with club’s drop to the Championship after a nine-year top-flight stay
There is no benefit to James Maddison and Harvey Barnes reporting for duty at the start of pre-season when everyone knows they want to leave and that Leicester need to sell them.
It will muddy the waters for a new manager trying to build a squad to win immediate promotion, and affect his attempts to forge a strong team spirit within a new group of players.
While transfer negotiations are rarely simple, both players have suitors and crave Premier League football. So this is the time to establish the nature of the market, have pragmatic discussions and get a deal done.
Leicester will likely not receive the same fees they would have banked had Barnes and Maddison been sold last summer. But these are the gambles clubs must take and this time, Leicester lost out.
They are now a Championship side and will be treated as such. Second-tier clubs are very rarely involved in £50million transfers and the sooner the Foxes understand this, the better.
Players waited on proceedings at Goodison Park after securing their 2-1 win against West Ham
Hold talks with Vardy
Although his powers are waning, Jamie Vardy did enough in Dean Smith’s eight-game spell to show he is still a dangerous striker – and this will remain the case at a lower level.
If he still has the appetite, Vardy – who is comfortably the club’s highest-paid player – will be a key man in the Championship, while also retaining a link to the glory days of the Premier League title in 2016 and FA Cup victory five years later.
Yet the Championship is a long haul and though nobody doubts Vardy’s professionalism and work ethic, he may need a serious think about what lies ahead.
This is a genuine Premier League great. Does he really want to spend the last year of his contract travelling to Plymouth and Rotherham for midweek away fixtures in winter, a scalp for centre-backs not fit to lace his boots?
On the other hand, what better way to cement a legacy than to lead Leicester back to the top flight in the final year of his contract? Vardy’s place in Leicester’s history is assured but this would be a wonderful final chapter.
Jamie Vardy has endured a frustrating season, only scoring three times in 37 appearances
Back the coach
Dean Smith will hold talks with chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha and director of football Jon Rudkin on Tuesday. Smith won promotion to the top flight with Aston Villa four years ago but his last bid to do so ended with the sack at Norwich last season. He is a good manager but his credentials are far from impeccable.
Rudkin and Srivaddhanaprabha – known as Khun Top – will have plenty of voices in their ears at this time, from inside and outside the club, and all pushing their own agendas.
Some will favour an experienced, ‘big name’ like Rafael Benitez. Others a younger candidate with a bold, clear style, in the mould of Vincent Kompany at Burnley. Other still will push managers who understand the Championship and its unique demands.
Whoever it is, Khun Top, Rudkin and recruitment chief Martyn Glover must be fully behind him and be prepared to build a squad he can work with successful. Otherwise, another long season awaits.
Dean Smith is set for crunch talks with officials at the King Power that will decide his future
Source: Daily Mail Online