Attacking Options Required
Vardy joins Patson Daka on the sidelines, while Kelechi Iheanacho is part of Nigeria’s AFCON squad. Also unavailable due to international call-ups are Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria) and Daniel Amartey (Ghana).
In short, Leicester have gone from being well stocked to short of numbers in a matter of days and Brendan Rodgers admits the Foxes will have to do some business this month – even though money is tight.
He said: “It’s something we’ll be looking at. Now it takes on a different focus with the injuries that we’ve had and from the weekend after having one fit and available centre-half.
“Money doesn’t grow on trees so we’ll have to maximise the talent that we have and go from there.”
Charles de Ketelaere On The Radar
Strengthening Leicester’s attack will not be easy. With the inimitable Vardy finally in the twilight of his remarkable career, a longer-term heir could be the way to go.
Club Brugge forward Charles de Ketelaere, nicknamed King Charles and likened to Kevin De Bruyne, is one such option. The 20-year-old Belgian has scored nine times and assisted a further seven for Brugge this season.
As well as Leicester, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are reportedly keen. But at £33million, the 6ft 4in striker could be out of reach for Leicester.
A slightly cheaper option is Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos. The Colombian, so often Celtic’s tormentor when Rodgers was Bhoys boss, is available at £20m according to CBS Sports, but Newcastle and Everton are also keen.
Defence has also been causing Rodgers a significant headache.
Full-back James Justin is close to a return from his ACL injury but Jonny Evans (hamstring), Caglar Soyuncu (hamstring), Ricardo Pereira (broken leg), Ryan Bertrand (knee) and Wesley Fofana (broken leg and dislocated ankle) are out. Filip Benkovic has also been ill.
That has left Jannik Vestergaard, signed from Southampton last summer, as City’s only senior central defensive option with AFCON-bound Amartey filling in alongside the big Dane.
James Tarkowski Back In Favour
Leicester were reportedly keen on Burnley defender James Tarkowski in the summer but settled instead on Vestergaard who, at £15million, was considered cheaper than the England international.
However, with Tarkowski’s contract up in six months and all indications being that he will not renew, Burnley have a decision to make. Do they cash in now or hold onto their prized asset until the summer, knowing they’ll almost certainly lose him for nothing?
Abdul Mumin Another Option
Another option is Vitoria Guimaraes centre-back Abdul Mumin. Valued at £12million, the 23-year-old Ghanian is also wanted by Newcastle according to the Daily Mail. However, any move could wait until the summer. Lyon are also interested.
Aberdeen right-back Calvin Ramsay, 20, has been linked though Dons chairman Dave Cormack insists his side do not have to sell.
In terms of departures, Atletico Madrid are keen on Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira as a replacement for Newcastle-bound Kieran Trippier, according to CBS Sports. Given Leicester’s defensive crisis, losing a regular starter will not have been part of Rodgers’ plans.
It looks set to be a difficult January for Leicester and Rodgers – in keeping with their tough campaign to date.