Dewsbury-Hall void, pacy buy, Vardy foil – Leicester City's three big transfer jobs this summer

Kelechi Iheanacho has now left Leicester City but could have been an ideal foil for Jamie Vardy if Steve Cooper opts for two up front
-Credit: (Image: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

Now Leicester City have a manager to oversee their return to the Premier League, the main task is to build a squad for him to lead.

Steve Cooper said himself in his opening interview as City boss that there is no bigger gap between two divisions in England as between the Championship and the Premier League, a clear indication that he felt his new side needed strengthening.

But of all the deals City need to do this summer, what are the most difficult and potentially most expensive? We’ve taken a look.

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Find a replacement for Dewsbury-Hall

Now a Chelsea player, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall leaves a void at City. He will need replacing. Enzo Maresca was adamant about that when discussing the midfielder’s future back in May, and Cooper will no doubt feel the same.

How Dewsbury-Hall’s 26 Championship goals and assists would translate to the Premier League is unknown. His most prolific top-flight campaign only saw him contribute to four goals. But thanks to Maresca’s coaching, Dewsbury-Hall’s tactical and technical improvements, and a rise in confidence in attacking areas, getting to double figures for goals and assists would not have felt like too big an ask.

Now he’s said goodbye, City need to find a player who can put up those sorts of numbers from midfield, as well as providing the energy, box-to-box running, and link-up with forward players that Dewsbury-Hall gave the team. The 25-year-old is worth £30m so any decent replacement is going to cost a fair amount too.

Add some pace to the back-line

While he wasn’t wedded to a back three, Cooper did play it most often during his time at Forest and will likely try it at City. But to make it work, they probably need another addition.

City have plenty of centre-backs to choose from with Jannik Vestergaard, Wout Faes, Conor Coady, Ben Nelson, and Harry Souttar competing for game-time, but none of them have a great deal of pace. Maresca quite regularly said his defenders were slow, and knew that was the obvious weakness to his side.

Under Maresca, James Justin was there to provide a bit of speed at the back, but in Cooper’s system, he is more likely to play as a wing-back, and so maybe caught up the field. City are likely to sit deeper in the Premier League as they won’t have as much possession, but the strikers they face are going to be quicker too, and a pacy option at the back would be a big help.

The problem is that speedy defenders are hard to come by. Finding a centre-back who has strength, organisational and positional qualities, decent ability on the ball, and then pace on top of that is a tough ask. Essentially, City are looking for a new Wesley Fofana.

Find a foil for Vardy

Cooper is one of the few managers around who still operates with two up front quite regularly. In his 3-4-3 system, the front trio can be configured in a number of ways, such as with two wide-men supporting a striker, or two attacking midfielders behind the frontman, but also with a single number 10 behind a strike pairing.

Now City have three strikers on their books in Jamie Vardy, Patson Daka, and Tom Cannon, but all three are fairly similar. To make a front two work, it feels like City would need something different.

At Forest, Cooper sometimes placed an attacking midfielder like Morgan Gibbs-White up front, or a natural wide player like Anthony Elanga alongside an out-and-out striker like Taiwu Awoniyi. That could be an option for City, and a way to get the likes of Stephy Mavididi and Abdul Fatawu in the side.

But as long as there’s balance across the rest of the team, a strike pairing can be lethal when two forwards have a deep understanding of the other’s game while also offering different qualities. City saw this under Brendan Rodgers when they played Kelechi Iheanacho with Vardy. Perhaps, now Cooper has been appointed, it’s a shame that the Nigerian has been let go.

If City are to go into the market for a new striker to partner Vardy or Daka, it’s going to cost a lot. Signing a Premier League-quality forward would usually be the most expensive deal a club will do in any given summer, and could be a concern when money’s tight and there are other positions to be strengthened.

What do you feel is the most important deal for City to do this summer? Let us know in the comments section below.