Leicester haven’t even received the trophy yet, but Claudio Ranieri is already looking past the celebrations and toward next season.
During his press conference today ahead of the team’s last home game of the season— where they will be officially given the Premier League trophy— Claudio Ranieri said he has asked his star players to stay at the King Power Stadium for one more year.
As the season winds down and Leicester’s improbable title win has been confirmed, the players at the heart of this historic campaign have been increasingly linked with moves away. Arsenal are apparently ready to trigger N’Golo Kanté’s £20 million release clause. Riyad Mahrez’ agent says his chances of leaving are about 50/50. And Jamie Vardy has been linked with… well, pretty much everybody.
But Claudio Ranieri has implored them all to give him one more season.
“Don’t go,” Ranieri said. “If you go another team, you might not get on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, the Italian manager has shrugged off any suggestion that he would leave the club after this season in order to go out on a high note. He also said that he’s not all too interested in bringing in “big names” next season for Leicester’s title defense and European adventure.
“I don’t want big names here. My lads are special. We have to bring some good players but they must have the same spirit.”
Leicester spent roughly £27 million in transfer fees this season while taking in about £7 million in player sales. Currently the team’s wage bill clocks in at about £57 million, the third lowest in the Premier League. Assuming Ranieri can catch lightning twice, he would have plenty of wiggle room if indeed the club is forced to sell their star players. Leicester have already shown they can do a lot with very little.