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Monday, 25 July 2011

Leicester City – Sven’s revolution gathers pace


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Paul Konchesky. Not immediately a name that will fill many of you with excitement, enthusiasm or indeed interest of any kind. Liverpool fans particularly are undoubtedly experiencing white-hot feelings of rage at the very utterance of his name – in fact I’m told that the word Konchesky has entered Scouse diction as meaning “one who renders defensive line incomplete”. However I must say that as a Leicester City fan, Paul Konchesky’s name has recently become synonymous with progress and an exciting glimpse of hope that my club can recapture some of the glory it enjoyed over a decade ago.

Konchesky is just one of eight summer signings thus far for the Foxes and is by no means the one that excites me most. Kasper Schmeichel, Matt Mills, Neil Danns and David Nugent, all impressive Championship players of recent years have joined Sven’s revolution and all bring with them a sense of ambition and progress. David Nugent particularly could turn out to be a masterful bit of business; Jermain Defoe’s favourite player has struggled to find a home over recent years, but he undoubtedly possesses talent and let us not forget that he boasts that rarest of records of having one goal in one appearance for his country. A lot of Leicester fans share my opinion that Nugent could score 20+ goals this season given the right service. And that would do very nicely from a player that cost us nothing.

Though it may be an unprecedented level of spending that Leicester have indulged in this summer, it is perhaps more surprising, pleasantly surprising, the nature of player that we have recruited. Since our new Thai owners came in and promised to spend we have been linked to a host of big names that include Beckham, Owen and Woodgate. All great players with world-class pedigree, but also players whose best days are probably behind them and with large wage demands to boot. Instead Sven, and I do believe he deserves a great deal of credit for this, has identified a specific group of players who, for varying reasons, have things to prove and are hungry for success. None more so than Konchesky who endured a less than happy spell at Liverpool and, on top of that, had then to suffer the ignominy of being sent on loan to Nottingham Forest! A fate that no football player should be made to bear.

Sven came to Leicester last season on the back of an abysmal start to the campaign and quickly made changes. He soon identified the biggest weakness in our team was our woeful inability to not leak goals. In January he did what he could to plug the holes and practically brought in a new defence, but even this was only partially successful. The lack of a quality goalkeeper and the inconsistencies that multiple loan signings can bring meant that our leaky defence made limited improvement. Sol Bamba came in and shored things up for a time, but his own positional inadequacies started to creep in at the backend of the season. Bamba has now been joined by Matt Mills and Sean St Ledger in the centre of defence and with the recruitment of fullbacks Konchesky, John Pantsil and Lee Peltier, in addition to the trialist Michael Ball possibly being given a contract, our defence will again have an unfamiliar look come August 6. I am very optimistic that our new-look defensive line has the unyielding potential to eradicate the problems we encountered last season.

I can’t possibly pretend to speak for all Leicester City fans, but I hope that the vast majority of them can clearly see that the players Sven has acquired this summer are exactly the players we need to take us to the next level; I have seen people lamentably describe some of our recruits as outcasts and rejects, but that outsider tag may be the very reason they turn out to be such excellent signings. They will work hard, they will be resolute in their desire to prove themselves to be good players and they will ensure that they squeeze every morsel of effort into ensuring the team succeeds in it’s objectives.

When you add the "super eight" we’ve signed to our already-established stars such as Andy King, Richie Wellens and next season’s Championship player of the year Yuki Abe, then the future looks buoyantly-rosy and the coming season could finally see the fantastic Foxes reclaim their place at the top table.

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Chris Pettitt

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