Leicester City notebook: Maresca's bet with Dewsbury-Hall, transfer embargo and contracts update

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Enzo Maresca chat after Leicester City's 3-1 win over Swansea
-Credit: (Image: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

Enzo Maresca is now in the hotseat at Chelsea but he may have to return to Leicester to honour a wager he had with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.

The midfielder netted 12 times as Leicester City claimed the Championship title, fulfilling one of Maresca’s pre-season aims to get the academy graduate scoring more often. By doing so, it has cost him.

Dewsbury-Hall had just five goals from 80 City appearances before this season, a tally that Maresca was not impressed with. So, during the pre-season trip to Asia last summer, the manager bet the midfielder a meal out that he could get him into double figures for goals. Dewsbury-Hall then one-upped him and said that if he reached 12 for the campaign, dinner was on the manager.

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The wager emerged at the club’s awards do last month when player of the season winner Dewsbury-Hall was asked which goal was his favourite. He said it was his 12th, a header in the win over Birmingham last month, as that was the one that won him the bet. Maresca explained further before he departed the club.

The Italian said: “We were in Thailand in pre-season and I sat with Kiernan and I said that his numbers were very bad, in terms of goals and assists. With us, this season, he was going to score more goals and assists.

“I said to him: ‘If you score 10 goals, you’re going to buy dinner for me.’ And he said: ‘Okay, but if I score 12, you’re going to pay for me.’ At the end, he scored 12, so I’m going to pay for him.”

Embargo to be lifted with retained list due

Nearly all Championship clubs released their retained lists weeks ago, and Premier League sides have started to publish theirs too. At City, the wait goes on.

But it should be nearly over. If City themselves don’t announce their retained list this week, it’s possible the EFL will do it for them, when they publish all clubs’ contract decisions.

City have delayed theirs because of the EFL registration embargo that has been hanging over them, but by Thursday at the latest, that will have expired. City will be represented at the Premier League’s AGM on Thursday, by which point the shares of the relegated sides will have been passed to those coming up from the Championship.

At that point, City officially become a Premier League club, meaning the EFL no longer govern what they can and can’t do, ending the registration embargo. Of the six senior players out of contract, deals for Jamie Vardy and Jannik Vestergaard are expected, while Marc Albrighton, Dennis Praet, and Kelechi Iheanacho are thought to be leaving. Wilfred Ndidi’s future remains up in the air.

City fans hope club votes against VAR

One of the big topics at the Premier League AGM will be VAR and its continued use in the top flight. Wolves have brought on a vote over video technology and whether it should remain a part of the game.

It’s not expected that enough clubs will side with Wolves and vote to get rid of VAR, even though it seems to be what most fanbases want. Indeed, City supporter group Foxes Trust polled the fanbase and found 60 per cent wanted it scrapped completely, with a further 26 per cent wanting VAR out of the game unless big improvements are made.

Justin the FPL king

As City go back up to the Premier League, there may not be anybody who has better knowledge of the opponents they will be facing than James Justin. It seems the full-back is an expert at fantasy football.

Of the known accounts of professional footballers, Justin ranked highest in Fantasy Premier League this season, finishing 1,583rd. Out of nearly 11 million players, that’s seriously impressive. And it’s not a one-off either. He’s finished inside the top 100,000 every season for the past five years, including another top-10,000 spot in 2020-21.

Would you give Ndidi a new contract at City? Let us know in the comments section below.