Monday 11 December 2017

Leonardo Ulloa prepared to leave Leicester in pursuit of regular football

Leicester's Leonardo Ulloa is yet to start a game this season for the Premier League champions
Leicester's Leonardo Ulloa is yet to start a game this season for the Premier League champions

Leicester striker Leonardo Ulloa is prepared to leave the club with interest mounting from China.

The 30-year-old has been forced to accept a bit-part role and is desperate for more playing time.

The Foxes would like to keep their former record signing but understand if Ulloa is unhappy at the King Power Stadium they would consider selling him in January.

Press Association Sport understands there is interest in Ulloa from China which would change the dynamic of any transfer chase with Super League clubs able to offer huge fees and wages.

Shandong Luneng pay Graziano Pelle a reported £13.6million per year after signing him from Southampton for £12million in the summer.

Swansea had a bid rejected for Ulloa in the summer and Sunderland were interested while West Brom are also monitoring the current situation and Ulloa has options in Spain.

He is a popular figure at the club and remains committed while a Leicester player but Press Association Sport understands he has struggled with his lack of game time over the last 12 months.

The £8million buy from Brighton in 2014 is eager to remain match fit for any January move and is open to all options but believes he has proved himself in the Premier League.

He said: "I want to play always. If I don't have minutes here I need to look for another team. It is difficult for me, the decision.

"I am waiting for the window and waiting for the team and waiting for the manager. I want to speak to him and after we'll make a decision for the club, for the team and for me also.

"I have a contract here and I need to think a lot about my situation and after that we need to make the decision together."

Ulloa, who has 19 goals in 85 games for the club - just 42 of them starts, was a half-time substitute in Wednesday's 5-0 Champions League defeat at Porto with Leicester having already qualified from Group G.

He has not started this season, making 13 substitute appearances, after scoring six goals in 33 games last term to help the Foxes win a shock title but has been relegated to the bench after the big money arrivals of Islam Slimani and Ahmed Musa.

"It is the decision of the manager, we bought some strikers and now the manager it is his decision to play with the other strikers," he said. "Yes, it is strange for me because last season I had good minutes and some games and now it is more difficult."

Leicester host Manchester City on Saturday two points above the relegation zone seven months after winning the league and boss Claudio Ranieri admitted the success could have gone to the players' heads after just three league wins all season.

He added: "Yes, but the players look at the table and they know where we are. That brings them down to earth and now we have to react, everybody.

"It's not important now to think about the bottom three. It's important to concentrate, be strong and stay together. The battle is open to a lot of teams. It is important to react.

"I am very sad because it was a big shame, a shame, believe me.

"Not for the five goals, last season we conceded five goals to Arsenal as well but against Porto we didn't have a shot on target."

Press Association

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