Tuesday 23 January 2018

Andy King: Leicester ready to challenge on all fronts

Andy King is excited by Leicester's increased options
Andy King is excited by Leicester's increased options

Andy King feels the addition of record signing Islam Slimani shows Leicester's intent to compete on all fronts this season.

Slimani joined the Premier League champions on transfer deadline day with his Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon saying Leicester had paid a club record 30million euros (around £25.5million), potentially rising by another 5million euros (£4.2million), for the Algeria striker.

The 28-year-old scored 27 goals for Sporting last season and is an international team-mate of Foxes star Riyad Mahrez, last season's PFA player of the year.

"I don't know how big a role Riyad has played in it," said King.

"But I have seen his goal record and Riyad speaks very highly of him coming from a good team in a good league. I am sure he will be a good addition to us.

"You will have to ask the manager (Claudio Ranieri) about where he sees him in his plans, but it is all about having a squad capable of rotating shape and players and the team still being strong.

"I think that is important as we are going to be playing a lot of games.

"We are going to be playing Saturday-Tuesday or Sunday-Wednesday for the whole month, so we'll have a squad of 25.

"We will use all of those players and they need to be of the ability to perform in the Premier League and Champions League."

Leicester lost midfield powerhouse N'Golo Kante to Chelsea this summer, but that was the only departure following their stunning Premier League title success.

And Slimani joins a Foxes squad already bolstered by the additions of Daniel Amartey, Ahmed Musa, Nampalys Mendy, Bartosz Kapustka, Luis Hernandez and Ron-Robert Zieler.

"We obviously didn't want to rest on our laurels from last season," said King.

"We managed to tie down a few of the players who had been there a while and contributed to the success the club has had over the years.

"But we have added quality and I am sure the club will be happy with the business they have done.

"I think we have assembled a squad capable of doing well in the Premier League and also the Champions League."

Last week's Champions League draw in Monaco pitted Leicester with Porto, Club Brugge and FC Copenhagen in the group stages.

Copenhagen was the scene for the Leicester players' Christmas party last December, and King admits drawing the Danes did produce a few smiles in the Foxes' camp.

"We had a bit of a joke that maybe we should all turn up in our fancy dress costumes," said King, who was speaking at a UEFA Champions League gala dinner to launch the 'Road to Cardiff' with the 2017 final being held in the Welsh capital.

"We had a great weekend there coupled with a great season. If we can have similar memories there as we had in a bar then we will be all right!

"It was good to see our name pulled out alongside the likes of Real Madrid in pot one - and I think the draw has been really kind to us, with the greatest respect to the teams we have got.

"But we know they will be tough, tough games against established European clubs who have more experience than us at that level.

"First and foremost we want to get out of the group and, if we do that, then who knows how far that could take us in the knock-out stages?"

Press Association

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