Sunday 30 April 2017

Ndidi first in as Ranieri gets £30m fund

Ranieri has been assured of significant funds and is targeting at least three signings. Photo: PA
Ranieri has been assured of significant funds and is targeting at least three signings. Photo: PA

John Percy

Claudio Ranieri will be given more than £30m to spend next month as Leicester City's owners act to revive the Premier League champions' season.

Ranieri has been assured of significant funds and is targeting at least three signings, with Racing Genk's Wilfred Ndidi to be the first arrival of a January spending spree.

Ndidi, 20, will officially complete his £14m move next week after agreeing a five-year contract and the defensive midfielder is seen as a huge coup by Leicester's recruitment team.

Ranieri is also preparing to bring in further signings to help Leicester avoid a relegation battle, with a centre-half, central midfielder and striker top of the manager's wish list.

Leicester, who are three points above the drop zone, have scouted Burnley defender Michael Keane but are understood to be focusing on the foreign market, despite a number of underwhelming signings from abroad in the summer.

Adrien Silva, the Sporting Lisbon midfielder, was pursued by Leicester before deadline day yet they are unlikely to renew their interest due to a £38m release clause.

Ranieri's need for new signings will increase next month when £28m record-signing Islam Slimani, Riyad Mahrez and Daniel Amartey depart for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Fringe players including Leonardo Ulloa and Jeffrey Schlupp are also expected to be sold after expressing concern over a lack of first-team opportunities.

Leicester's recruitment after winning the league has come under intense scrutiny after a summer spend of more than £60m, with Slimani and Ahmed Musa, who cost £15m, struggling to make an impression.

Nampalys Mendy has also suffered with injuries while Poland international Bartosz Kapustka, another summer signing, is expected to leave the club on loan.

Foxes winger Marc Albrighton said: "If the club are looking to do [new signings] then we welcome them. We have got to get them into the Leicester philosophy. If people are talking about relegation battles that is up to them. As players, we are the only ones who can turn this around and to do that we have to be focused." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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