Saturday 10 December 2016

How Leicester kept the core of their Premier League winners at the club

Published 18/08/2016 | 10:36

Riyad Mahrez has agreed to stay at Leicester until 2020 by signing a new deal on Wednesday
Riyad Mahrez has agreed to stay at Leicester until 2020 by signing a new deal on Wednesday

Leicester have kept the core of their title-winning squad together, with Riyad Mahrez the latest player to pledge his future. They lost N'Golo Kante to Chelsea but the Foxes have avoided losing any more of their stars ahead of their Premier League title defence.

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Boss Claudio Ranieri, who has also penned a new deal, confirmed Danny Drinkwater is in talks for fresh terms. Here, Press Association Sport looks at the men who have committed to the champions this summer.

RIYAD MAHREZ

Leicester ended speculation over the winger's future when he signed until 2020 on Wednesday. The reigning PFA Player of the Year had continually been linked with a move away from the Foxes, with Arsenal heavily credited with an interest.

But the Algeria international, who joined from Le Harve for just £400,000 in 2014, will now stay and face Arsenal when they visit the King Power Stadium on Saturday. He scored 17 goals last season and opened his new account with a penalty in the weekend's Premier League defeat at Hull.

JAMIE VARDY

The striker snubbed Arsenal to sign a new deal at Leicester as the Foxes won the fight to keep him at the King Power Stadium. The Gunners triggered his release fee in June but, despite holding talks with the north London club, Vardy opted to pen a contract at Leicester until 2020. It was a huge coup for Ranieri after the England forward scored 24 goals last season to propel them to their shock Premier League title.

It was Vardy's second new contract of 2016 after he only agreed his previous fresh terms in February, and his deal set the tone for the Foxes to keep the majority of their stars.

WES MORGAN

Captain Morgan agreed his new contract until 2019 in July with Ranieri describing him as a "leader" and a "warrior".

The 32-year-old played every minute of last season's title-winning campaign, having formed an impressive partnership with Robert Huth at the back, and has made 197 appearances for the club having joined from Nottingham Forest in 2012.

KASPER SCHMEICHEL

This month the goalkeeper pledged his future to the Foxes until 2021 having been an ever-present in last season's Premier League-winning side - keeping 15 clean sheets as they clinched the title by 10 points.

The Denmark international, 29, moved to the King Power Stadium from Leeds in 2011 and has played 221 games for the club. He helped them win the Sky Bet Championship crown, along with Morgan and Vardy, in 2014 having lost in the play-off semi-finals a year earlier.

ANDY KING

The Wales international had to play understudy to Drinkwater and Kante last season but started in Leicester's opening-day 2-1 defeat at Hull with Kante now at Chelsea.

He is also committed to the club until 2020 and is their longest-serving player having made 334 appearances since coming through the ranks at the King Power Stadium. King made his debut in 2007 and has won Sky Bet League One, the Sky Bet Championship and the Premier League with the club.

CLAUDIO RANIERI

The Italian was rewarded with a new deal until 2020 after guiding Leicester to the title having been favourite for the sack last year. He replaced Nigel Pearson last summer, making a return to English football for the first time since being sacked by Chelsea in 2004, when the Foxes were 5,000-1 to win the league.

He enjoys a good relationship with owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his son Top and quickly earned the faith of the squad, who were fiercely loyal to Pearson. Ranieri has repeatedly stated the Foxes would not sell their top players.

Press Association

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