What if? An alternative history of Leicester City talking of Ice Kings and Gary Lineker as we bring on Claudio Ranieri

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We did see a future for Jimmy Bloomfield at Leicester as his departure came as a shock for most of us following the club at that time and the blood pressure went through the roof when Claudio Ranieri left the ship.

So what would have happened if Leicester had skipped the idea of appointing Craig Shakespare and later bringing in Claude Puel and Brendan Rodgers as we have seen Claudio in a number of different jobs after leaving Leicester.

The team produced good results in Champions League action but in Premier League it was not as predicted and even FA Cup and EFL Cup games became a struggle as many new faces were introduced to the party as the club tried to get back to basic.

We do believe Leicester would have survived in Premier League, but still do not understand why life became so difficult with N’Golo Kantè the only player missing from the season before and with the addition of Wilfred Ndidi in January a good base was in place.

The problem was to get the correct mix and not starting a massive rotation that would upset the balance of the team as Craig Shakespeare would have assisted Claudio as the two were working on the formula for future success.

Looking in the back mirror we all know that talking down the ability of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and several of the other players was a massive mistake as they went on to play for their countries and had a good attitude and presence that never could see Leicester missing as much momentum as they did.

Ben Chilwell and Harvey Barnes were also in the making and had both been introduced the first team and been given their debuts by Claudio Ranieri. Daniel Amartey and Demarai Gray were two other youngsters introduced by the Italian master as the team would return to that winning formula.

Sadly most of the summer transfers basically had to be made on risky ground with Kasper Schmeichel, Jamie Vardy, N’Golo Kantè and Ryiad Mahrez all being approached by other clubs and without the moves for Musa, Mendy, Kapustka, Zieler, Slimani and Hernandez it could have been a squad of heavy problems.

This made it problematic for Ranieri as he had too many players to his service and dropping Vardy, Mahrez or Schmeichel would have been out of the question. This made it difficult for Musa and Slimani especially who were seen as clear replacements for Mahrez and Vardy, but they never had a chance to challenge for places.

Craig Shakespeare just put everything back to basics and ran the team perfectly out the season, something we believe would have happened with Claudio in there as well.

What we did see the next summer was a move for new players such as Harry Maguire, Kelechi Ihenancho and Adrien Silva. Shakespeare send Slimani and Musa out on loan, something that also would have happened with Ranieri in charge as he was never in his mind thinking of dropping either Vardy or Mahrez as they continued to play.

2016/17
Goalkeepers; Schmeichel, Zieler
Defenders; Simpson, Fuchs, Chilwell, Huth, Morgan, Amartey
Midfield: Drinkwater, Ndidi, King, Mahrez, Albrighton, Mendy, Gray
Forwards: Vardy, Slimani, Musa, Barnes, Ulloa, Okazaki

The key for Ranieri and Shakespeare was to keep a steady and solid group as they again would go for a reduction in the season after. Ranieri would have build more on the group he had and added young talents, instead of bying more fringe players.

The signing for Harry Maguire would have gone through the next summer, but that would have been the only new man to arrive as Leicester would have regrouped. The sale of Danny Drinkwater would have happened, and the gap would have been filled by Mendy or King. Zieler, Slimani and Musa would have been sold or loaned to other clubs.

2017/18
Goalkeepers; Schmeichel, Iversen
Defenders: Amartey, Simpson, Maguire, Huth, Morgan, Chilwell, Fuchs
Midfield: Ndidi, Mendy, King, Mahrez, Albrighton, Gray
Forwards: Barnes, Vardy, Ulloa, Okazaki

We would have seen a Leicester team close to the top of their pyramid. Leicester would have flied and been in the top four with this set up and making just that one single signing of Harry Maguire.

2018/19
Goalkeepers: Schmeichel, Iversen
Defenders: Amartey, Pereira, Maguire, Morgan, Chilwell, Fuchs, Moore
Midfield: Ndidi, Maddison, Mendy, Albrighton, Gray, King, Tielemans
Forwards: Vardy, Okazaki, Barnes, Ulloa

The sale of Riyad Mahrez would have gone through but with Barnes, Gray and new recruit James Maddison it was control in the area. The progress of Chilwell and Barnes would have been seen as Ranieri had slotted them in on a perfect route.

Pereira was a solid signing from FC Porto as we had seen the last of Danny Simpson given a chance to leave for good as his time at the club would have been over with the signing of Pereira. Leicester would have gone from strength to strength and with Youri Tielemans joining on loan in January.

2019/20
There would have been a certain move for a defender and we would have seen the last of Harry Maguire as a transfer fee of £80million would see him leave. Ulloa had also been leaving after his contract had come to an end. Okazaki and King would have stayed for another year.

Goalkeepers: Schmeichel, Iversen
Defenders: Amartey, Pereira, Morgan, Chilwell, Fuchs, Moore
Midfield: Ndidi, King, Gray, Albrighton, Maddison, Mendy, Tielemans
Forwards: Vardy, Barnes, Okazaki

2020/21
Leicester had been up and around in the top four with this squad of players and Ranieri would have seen his chance to add James Justin as his new man in defence. Still keeping Morgan in there and of course having Fuchs also available as a move for Ben Chilwell would have happened. Okazaki days also gone as his replacement would have been a loan signing in Cengiz Under. Under would have had a grand season and signed a permanent deal in the summer.

Welsey Fofana had been brought in as well and money would have been well spent on the duo that would have established themselves in the team. Morgan still around as a cover, Moore progressing and Fuchs still able to do a job.

Goalkeepers: Schmeichel, Iversen
Defenders: Pereira, Amartey, Morgan, Justin, Fofana, Moore, Fuchs, Thomas
Midfield: King, Ndidi, Gray, Albrighton, Maddison, Mendy, Tielemans
Forwards; Vardy, Barnes, Under

2021/22

As we approach more recent days of this football club with Claudio doing fine, he would have let King leave and given Dewsbury-Hall an introduction this season after loan spells out to get ready.

Another season with a life just close or in the region of European places would have been in place with Shakespeare and Ranieri still running the show. We would have seen a final after defeating Roma in Rome and Feyenoord would have been a number too small as Ranieri had lifted the Conference League trophy, the first for Leicester in Europe.

Goalkeepers: Schmeichel, Iversen
Defenders: Amartey, Pereira, Justin, Fofana, Moore, Fuchs, Thomas
Midfield: Ndidi, Gray, Albrighton, Maddison, Mendy. Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall
Forwards: Vardy, Barnes, Under

2022/23

Youri Tielemans would have signed a new five year deal and been given the captaincy as Kasper Schmeichel started to plan his retirement seeing out his last season at the club and slowly preparing Daniel Iversen for his role as first choice. Jamie Vardy would have signed a three year extension as his goals were flushing.

Ben Nelson were waiting in the wings and Fuchs would still be around as his MLS adventure never matured and as he had a great time alongside Fofana in the middle of the park, seeing Amartey growing into a central defender role of great ability.

No new signings or any massive departures seen as the team just progressed with the appearance of exciting form with Fofana and Moore being the preferred men and also having Justin ability in place.

Claudio would have managed another trophy with the FA Cup and European Conference alongside Premier League trophies in the cabinet, working on a new European trophy and a top six position for next season with the following squad;

Goalkeepers: Iversen, Schmeichel
Defenders: Justin, Pereira, Thomas, Fuchs, Fofana, Moore, Amartey
Midfield: Ndidi, Maddison, Tielemans, Gray, Dewsbury-Hall, Mendy, Albrighton
Forwards: Vardy, Barnes, Under

So with some critical voices probably looking at the squad as too thin the following would have happened with Vardy out of action as we have seen him be. Gray had been the man to use as an alternative and of course Maddison as a false number nine.

Claudio Ranieri in charge for his 8th season and really hungry to continue, what a blend of fans, management, owners and players, the best ever feeling as a Leicester fan was established in the 2015/16 season. Magic and the best way to watch and follow Leicester, loved it, as we all know, feeling perfect and in a place you would not like to leave is fantastic.

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