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Leicester City

Leicester must plot a January move to sign this specialist right-back from Premier League rivals

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Leicester City should go all out to sign Nathaniel Clyne in January

According to the Mirror, Liverpool’s out-of-favour right-back, Nathaniel Clyne, has emerged as a transfer target for Leicester City in January.

The 27-year-old has made only one appearance for the Reds so far this season which came in their 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

A product of Crystal Palace’s youth system, Clyne achieved commendable success with his boyhood club before moving to Southampton in 2012. His consistent displays for the Saints earned him a move to Anfield in 2015. The 27-year-old quickly established himself as Liverpool’s first-choice right-back and was called up to the England team where he had a brief stint as well.

Initially, Jurgen Klopp utilized him as the team’s first-choice right-back and the English international went on to make a total of 41 appearances across all competitions in the 2016/17 season. However, in the subsequent season, Clyne lost his place in the team due to recurrent injuries.

The emergence of young stars like Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold pushed him down the pecking order at the club. Since then, he hasn’t been able to regain his position and it doesn’t seem like he will anytime soon. 

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Leicester City, on the other hand, have had their fair share of troubles at the back this season. The Foxes went down 2-1 to Everton last weekend and looked quite shaky at the back. Wes Morgan received his second red card of the season as Claude Puel’s men found it difficult to deal with the flow of attacks.

Leicester have won four and lost four out of their first eight games in the Premier League and Puel’s men have kept only two clean sheets so far. That number doesn’t look good, given that Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell have been in top form this season.

The Foxes have been hit hard by the lack of a quality right-back in their squad. Puel brought in Ricardo Pereira to bolster his options with Danny Simpson being the only other choice. However, the Portuguese international has emerged as a glaring misfit. He has been ripped apart by the opposition on multiple occasions and has left far too much space on the right for the opposition to exploit. To be fair, he has done a better job as a right-winger.

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Daniel Amartey has been utilized as a makeshift right-back but he has struggled in an unfamiliar position. Although he has managed to keep out the attacks at times, he has looked uncomfortable and often kicks the ball away aimlessly. In other words, the Ghanaian doesn’t provide much support to the build-up play in terms of the attack.

To put things into perspective, Leicester need a specialist right-back who can deliver the goods on a consistent basis and Nathaniel Clyne is definitely a good option.

The 27-year-old is a good tackler and covers ground quickly at the back. He boasts of commendable positional sense for a full-back and doesn’t allow the opposition much space to work with. In the 2016/17 season, he averaged 2.2 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 1.5 clearances per game in the Premier League.

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Read More:- Go for it Puel – Leicester City must not think twice about making a move for this seasoned Premier League star

To add to that, Clyne likes to go forward and contribute to the attacking play with pacy runs down the right. He might not be the best crosser around but he has the ability to dribble past the opposition full-backs and tends to link the play with quick one-twos at the edge of the box.

Hence, Leicester City should not hesitate to splash the cash and sign Nathaniel Clyne as he could bring a lot of stability to their backline. With Clyne in their ranks, the Foxes can achieve a better defensive record which might propel them to a Europa League playoff spot next season.

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Leicester City

Offloading this 32-year-old out-of-favour superstar could prove to be highly beneficial for Leicester City

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Leicester City should offload out-of-favour star Shinji Okazaki

Leicester City’s start to the season hasn’t been remarkable, it has rather been lukewarm.with four wins and four losses from their first eight games in the Premier League, the Foxes currently sit 10th in the standings with 12 points.

Some of the young players have really taken their game to the next level and the team has reaped the fruits of their impressive and consistent performances. Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray have established themselves as first-team regulars ahead of the more experienced Christian Fuchs and Marc Albrighton. As a matter of fact, manager Claude Puel has preferred the exuberance of youth over the older heads in the team.

A prime example of that would be the rise of James Maddison. The Foxes signed the 21-year-old from Norwich City in the summer for a fee of £22 million and the youngster has flourished under the tutelage of Claude Puel. So much so, Maddison has been rewarded with an England call-up for his remarkable form this season which has seen him contribute with 3 goals and 2 assists.

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Shinji Okazaki is not the only old head in the squad who has fallen out-of-favour under Claude Puel, the others being Danny Simpson, Andy King and Christian Fuchs. The 32-year-old Japanese international has made only four appearances in the Premier League, all of them coming as a substitute off the bench and has played a total of only 25 minutes this season. He has started on two occasions in the Carabao Cup but hasn’t been able to put up a performance of substance.

Okazaki, who was a part of Leicester’s Premier League winning squad in the 2015-16 season, has looked visibly rusty and those sharp turns and elegant touches that used to make him such a dangerous player in the final third, are no longer to be found in his game. A part of his slip down the pecking order can also be attributed to the rise of Kelechi Iheanacho and James Maddison. Okazaki is also capable of leading the attack but is not likely to do so in the presence of Jamie Vardy.

Leicester have enough options to play in the ‘attacking four’ of their 4-2-3-1 formation. James Maddison, Marc Albrighton, Demarai Gray, Rachid Ghezzal, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ricardo Pereira have all fitted in perfectly to the manager’s plans and there seems to be no place for the 32-year-old. Also, Leicester have the luxury of recalling Harvey Barnes from his loan spell. The youngster has come up with flying colours in the Championship this season and this would be just the ideal time to introduce him to the Premier League.

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Read More:- Leicester must plot a January move to sign this specialist right-back from Premier League rivals

That further closes the door for Okazaki who doesn’t seem to have much football left in him at the age of 32. There won’t be much money left in him either and the Foxes should try to cash in on him in January or next summer as it would be useless for the team to have him on their payroll for doing next to nothing.

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EFL Championship

Recalling this sensational on-loan superstar could take Leicester City to the next level

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Leicester City should recall Harvey Barnes from West Brom in January

According to Belfast Telegraph, Leicester City are planning to recall Harvey Barnes, who is currently on loan at Championship club West Bromwich Albion. The 20-year-old has impressed the Foxes to the extent that they intend on calling him back in January.

Barnes has been in tremendous form this season and has scored five goals in 12 appearances for the Baggies, setting up another two in the process. As a result of his recent run of form, he was awarded a call-up to England’s U21 side.

Harvey Barnes is one of the brightest young talents to have graduated from Leicester’s academy in recent times. He signed his first professional contract in 2016 and made his debut in the same year, featuring in the team’s 5-0 defeat at the hands of Porto in the UEFA Champions League.

Barnes found regular minutes hard to come by at King Power Stadium last season and made a total of 3 appearances for the Foxes. He spent time at MK Dons and Barnsley before joining West Brom on loan this summer.

Leicester City have made a mixed start to their campaign and the Foxes currently sit 10th in the standings with 12 points. Claude Puel’s men have bagged four wins so far but have crumbled to defeats on an equal number of occasions.

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The Foxes have been rather inconsistent so far and they must put up consistent performances to keep pace with the likes of Bournemouth, Watford, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton.

Leicester have been hit hard by an injury to Demarai Gray and Puel opted to shift James Maddison to the wide position in the 2-1 defeat against Everton, despite having Rachid Ghezzal and Marcus Albrighton on the bench.

Maddison has been the brightest spark for the Foxes since moving from Norwich City in the summer. The 21-year-old has racked up 3 goals and 2 assists and has been rewarded with a call-up to England’s senior team for the UEFA Nations League fixtures.

Claude Puel has a reputation for favouring the exuberance of youth and the Frenchman has been instrumental in the rise of several youngsters from Leicester’s ranks. Ben Chilwell, Demarai Gray and James Maddison have enjoyed the fruits of his managerial philosophy and have taken their game to a new level.

It is worth remembering that Puel took charge when the Foxes were struggling last season. In fact, the Frenchman leaned upon the shoulders of several youngsters to get their campaign back on track. He is known for backing youngsters as evidenced by his decisions to deploy Ben Chilwell ahead of veteran Christian Fuchs and Wilfred Ndidi ahead of Vicente Iborra.

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Read More:- 241 passes with 84% accuracy – This Leicester City powerhouse is set to take the Premier League by storm

To put things into perspective, Leicester should recall Barnes and hand him a significant role in the squad. A versatile attacking midfielder who is capable of playing either down the left or through the centre, Barnes would add a lot of depth to Leicester’s attacking options. He is blessed with a wonderful technique, incredible vision and silky dribbling skills, making him a potent threat in the midfield.

To go with that, Barnes is also capable of scoring goals with powerful long-range efforts. As a matter of fact, Barnes has averaged 3.3 shots, 1.7 key passes and 1.5 dribbles per game this season, which are incredible numbers for a 20-year-old.

Given that Gray and Maddison are still young, they might not be able to maintain the same levels of consistency throughout the campaign. Hence, having Barnes on the bench will obviously help their cause.

Barnes has already proven his worth in the Championship and Leicester should recall their academy graduate and allow him to make a mark in the Premier League.

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EFL Championship

Leicester City could hamper this on-loan sensation’s progress by recalling him in January

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Leicester recalling Harvey Barnes from his loan deal could jeopardize his progress

Leicester City manager Claude Puel has hinted at the possibility of recalling Harvey Barnes from his loan spell at West Bromwich Albion in the January window. (h/t Leicester Mercury)

The 20-year-old midfielder was signed by the Baggies on a season-long loan in the summer but the Foxes have an option to recall him midway through the campaign. Having made a brilliant start to the season at Hawthorns, the youngster has made a solid impression on Puel, who did not rule out bringing him back to the King Power in the winter window. (h/t Leicester Mercury)

“We will see,” said Puel about Barnes’ situation, as quoted by Leicester Mercury. “I am focused on my squad. I follow Harvey’s performances of course but in January we will see what happens. I am happy with his work and about the quality he puts on the pitch, and about the good way, good football for him. We will see.”

Barnes is a product of the Leicester academy and his ongoing loan spell with West Brom is his third such move, having previously had six-month stints away at MK Dons and Barnsley. Since moving to the Hawthorns, the 20-year-old has established himself in Darren Moore’s side and has been instrumental in their brilliant start to the season.

West Brom find themselves sitting in the second spot in the EFL Championship table heading into the international break, having accumulated 24 points from 12 matches (W7, 3D, 2L). Barnes has started every game for the Baggies this term and has managed to produce returns of five goals and two assists in the process.

A versatile customer, the Englishman has excelled when used on the left flank as well as when played in a central attacking midfield role. An able dribbler with bags of creativity and eye for the goal, Barnes’ form saw him earn a call-up to the England U21 team for the upcoming games against Andorra and Scotland.

It is clear that the 20-year-old has what it takes to be a regular in the first-team at Leicester. However, it wouldn’t be the smartest move to recall him from his loan spell at the moment. Under Puel, summer signing James Maddison has been in sensational form, while the likes of more experienced players like Marc Albrighton, Demarai Gray and Rachid Ghezzal are all vying for a spot in the starting XI.

Bringing him back to the King Power at the moment would make him a bench warmer, with sporadic starts here and there in cup games. Whereas, at West Brom, he is one of the first names on Moore’s teamsheet.

Read More: Leicester must plot a January move to sign this specialist right-back from Premier League rivals

Hence, cutting his loan stint short would mean taking away his regular playing time in the first-team, which is important for him at this stage of his career. Thus, it would be best for Leicester to allow the 20-year-old to continue at the Hawthorns for the rest of the season.

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