Why Leicester City should not let go of Demarai Gray
According to the Daily Telegraph (h/t Leicestershire Live), Leicester City winger Demarai Gray has attracted interest from rivals Newcastle United.
The 24-year-old Gray is out of contract next summer and Newcastle manager Steve Bruce hopes that they can secure the winger’s services if the Foxes decide to let go of him.
Meanwhile, Gray has not had the best of seasons under new boss Brendan Rodgers. A regular in the side in the past three seasons, Gray was mostly limited to the bench this season and has made just 29 appearances for them in total.
However, he still managed to pick up three goals and five assists, proving that he is nothing short of talent. Having joined the Foxes four years ago from Birmingham City, Gray has played 167 matches for them across all competitions and has 13 goals and 17 assists to his name.
Though a left-winger, Gray is also comfortable playing on the right and has done so on numerous occasions for Leicester. Gray, who is known for his pace, has featured 81 times on the left and 40 times on the right respectively, giving a clear idea of his versatility.
Having proven himself at the King Power Stadium all these years, it is not a big surprise Newcastle have put him on their radar. The Magpies’ lack of attacking forwards has seen the side slip to a lowly 13th this season in the league table. They have managed just 38 goals from their 38 league matches, prompting the club to look for attacking wingers such as Gray.
Gray is the only established winger in Leicester City squad
Gray, on the other hand, found his starting role within the side fall behind the likes of newcomers Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez. Manager Rodgers’ decision to deploy Barnes on the left and Perez on the right for the major share of the season saw Gray fall down the pecking order at Leicester.
Though both Barnes and Perez have excelled with their displays this season, the former is more of a midfielder while Perez is a second-striker and likes to play in the final third. Also, apart from these two, Leicester clearly do not have any established wingers in their ranks other than Gray.
They have 24-year-old winger Fousseni Diabaté but he recently returned from a loan spell with Ligue 1 side Amiens, suggesting that he is clearly not one of Rodgers’ favourite at the moment.
That said, losing a goal-scoring winger such as Gray would not seem like the best of options for Leicester. Hence, they should ward off interest from Newcastle and keep him in the side if they wish to stay among the top clubs next season.
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Leicester City clearly lack depth across their flanks and it would be wise if they hold onto a winger like Gray, who has already proved his potential. Also, he is just 24 and still has plenty of football left in him. His versatility will also be an added benefit for any side, let alone the Foxes.