Off-Seasons and Transfer Activity
INS: Matheus Pereira (£8.25m), Cedric Kipré (£750,000), David Button (£1m), Grady Diangana (£18m), Callum Robinson (Player Exchange), Lee Peltier (Free Transfer).
OUTS: Ali Al-Habsi (Retired), Gareth Barry (Retired), Chris Brunt (Free Transfer), Lee Peltier (Free Transfer), Nathan Ferguson (Tribunal), Alex Palmer (Loan), Callum Morton (Loan), Jonathan Leko (£1m), Oliver Burke (Player Exchange), Rayhaan Tulloch (Loan).
Albion have kept themselves busy in the transfer market with particular focus on retaining as much of the squad who achieved promotion last season.
The bargain permanent signings of fan favourites Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira represent significant coups for the club and will be a huge lift to the squad. Creating chances will hardly be an issue for this side, but doubts remain over our strikers being able to tuck them away.
The club remain on the hunt for a goalscorer; Karlan Grant is their primary target but as Huddersfield are not prepared to budge on their valuation, Grant will not be signed before the season opener. A real blow for Albion who could’ve done with his eye for goal.
The confirmation of Callum Robinson’s straight swap deal with Oli Burke represents great business. His flexibility to play up top as well as off the left wing will be invaluable in a condensed Premier League season. His appearances for the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League means he could start this season up front like he did in Albion’s last league game vs QPR in July.
The arrival of Cedric Kipre may also cause Bilic to potentially shuffle his back four ahead of the season opener, but Sunday’s game may come too soon to see the former Leicester academy centre half start for his new club.
INS: Nampalys Mendy (Free Transfer), Timothy Castagne (£21.6m).
OUTS: Andy King (Free Transfer), Nampalys Mendy (Free Transfer), Bartosz Kapustka (Free Transfer), George Thomas (Free Transfer), Ben Chilwell (£45m).
Although James Maddison and Jamie Vardy have both signed new contracts to keep them at the King Power stadium, Ben Chilwell’s departure to Chelsea has been the major story of Leicester’s pre-season.
Luke Thomas is the only natural left back at the club as it stands; however, Leicester’s sole summer signing Timothy Castagne from Atalanta has experience playing on the left despite being a right-sided attacking full back.
Castagne has barely trained with his new club though as he spent the last couple of weeks with the Belgian national team. Will three or four days adjusting to a new country with new teammates be enough time for him to settle and be in contention to start?
Leicester are still in the market for a centre back and are rumoured to be interested in securing the services of James Tarkowski although any deal looks some way off. The highly rated 19-year-old centre back Wesley Fofana of Saint-Étienne is forcing a move to Leicester, but he will not feature at The Hawthorns. Leicester’s back line will remain threadbare against the Baggies.
Going forward is where Leicester shone last season, although there hasn’t been any new signings to freshen up an attack that only scored nine goals in as many league games after the restart.
The Foxes remain reliant on the goal scoring exploits of Jamie Vardy, although there have been endless stories linking Brendan Rodgers with a new striker, most recently Gabriel Barbosa of Inter Milan.
An unbeaten pre-season against Championship opposition will please Rodgers but there are quite a few question marks and injury concerns that the Northern Irishman has to contend with.