Leicester City notebook: Will Alves goal sparks debate as League One transfer bid rejected

Will Alves in action for Leicester City Under-21s in their Premier League Cup tie against Brentford
-Credit: (Image: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

Leicester City don’t have a manager and they are likely to sell key players this summer, but Friday’s contract announcements and the thrill of seeing Jamie Vardy in blue for one more year sparked a buzz for the new season.

And there was another event on Friday that added to the excitement for the new campaign. Just 12 minutes into his first international appearance for more than 18 months, Will Alves scored a stunning goal to help England Under-20s to a 2-1 win over Sweden.

The teenage talent received the ball on the left wing, jinked inside his marker, and then curled a brilliant effort to the top corner from the edge of the box. It was a superb goal and one that got City fans talking.

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Because Alves is ready for a big season. Minor injuries hampered his return from his ACL tear but at the end of the season, he managed to put together a run of games for the Under-21s and looked as good as his old self as he bamboozled defenders with his quick feet. But more than that, he was contributing at the top end with goals and assists more than he had ever had.

The question is whether his upcoming season should be with City or out on loan. Alves’ England goal ignited that conversation and there are arguments for both.

For a start, the most successful of City’s recent academy graduates honed their game out on loan first. Harvey Barnes had three spells away from City, at MK Dons, Barnsley, and West Brom, before his big break, while Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall spent time with Blackpool and Luton.

Alves has had minimal exposure to first-team football. To be a member of City’s Premier League squad may feel like he’s being thrown in at the deep end. It’s almost certain that he would get more game-time if he goes to a Championship or League One club for a year, rather than stick around at City.

However, when Barnes and Dewsbury-Hall went on loan, City were well-covered for senior options in their positions. That’s not the case with Alves. City are short on attacking midfielders and so there is a gap for Alves to fill. It would certainly be helpful if he could, as that would mean one fewer signing to make in a summer where cash is limited.

Plus, by playing against Premier League players and training in a Premier League environment, Alves’ development may be super-charged. Even if he doesn’t feature as often as he would on loan, he will be surrounded by better quality whether at Seagrave or on a matchday.

It’s an interesting debate. It will be a decision for the new manager to make, likely once he’s had a chance to see Alves in action in training and in pre-season matches.

For now, Alves has another chance to impress at international level. England Under-20s play the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, with Ben Nelson and Sammy Braybrooke hoping they can get another run-out too.

Brunt bid rejected by City, says Clough

City centre-back Lewis Brunt spent last season on loan at Mansfield, helping them to achieve promotion to League One, and the Stags have been clear in wanting to keep him. But there’s no deal yet.

Mansfield manager Nigel Clough says City rejected their bid for Brunt and that the two clubs’ valuations may be too far apart for a permanent deal to go through. However, he’s not giving up.

Clough told the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad: “We put a bid in which was rejected and unfortunately we might be too far apart in terms of their valuation and what we can pay. But we will keep trying with it and we always have the loan option as well. Negotiations are ongoing.

“We are certainly not ruling him out. He remains our number one target. He has only had the one season in League Two and did very well, despite a couple of errors. If he plays at the same standard in League One then he might be worth a little bit more to Leicester in 12 months’ time.”

However, Brunt will only be worth more to City in a year if there is an option to extend his deal, or if they sign him to a new contract. His current deal, signed in 2022, is due to expire next summer.

Four current and eight former players at the Euros

The Euros kick off this Friday and City will be represented in Germany by four of their players. Wout Faes is expected to be a starter for Belgium, while there is a City trio in the Denmark squad, with Jannik Vestergaard and Victor Kristiansen potential starters, and with Mad Hermansen their third-choice goalkeeper.

But there are double the number of former City players at the tournament. For a start, there’s this season’s loanee Yunus Akgun, who has been selected in the Turkey squad. There’s no place for Caglar Soyuncu though, as he had to pull out through injury.

Elsewhere, Ayoze Perez is a shock inclusion in Spain’s squad. Eleven goals for Real Betis this season earned him his maiden call-up aged 30 and he responded with a goal and an assist on his debut as Spain beat Andorra 5-0. He’s now travelling to Germany.

N’Golo Kante was a surprise pick for France. Now playing in Saudi Arabia, the defensive midfielder had not featured for France for two years when Didier Deschamps named him in his squad.

Elsewhere, Kasper Schmeichel will be number one for Denmark, Youri Tielemans and Timothy Castagne will get regular minutes for Belgium, and Andrej Kramaric could again remind City what they missed out on when he leads the line for Croatia.

With James Maddison, Harry Maguire, and Ben Chilwell among the high-profile omissions from the England squad, the only former City player with the Three Lions in Germany is one-time loanee Harry Kane.

Do you think Alves should be kept in the City squad or loaned out? Let us know in the comments section below.