Wednesday 17 January 2018

What next for Claudio Ranieri at Leicester?

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri arrives at San Carlo Pizzeria in the city as he celebrates their title win
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri arrives at San Carlo Pizzeria in the city as he celebrates their title win

Manager Claudio Ranieri has won the Barclays Premier League with Leicester to stun the world of football.

With his reputation restored, after a miserable spell in charge of Greece ended in 2014, Press Association Sport looks at what the Italian has to do next at the King Power Stadium.


Leicester's success is built on a strong team ethic and bond which was developed during Nigel Pearson's reign. They have a hard-working, close bunch of players who have grown with each other and it is paramount Ranieri keeps them together. Jamie Vardy signed a new deal in February and the club now must persuade PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez to sign, along with Kasper Schmeichel, who has been linked with Barcelona, and N'Golo Kante.


As champions and top seeds in the Champions League the Foxes will be propelled into another stratosphere and Ranieri is mindful of not upsetting the squad's dynamic. It would be easy for the club to splash out some big-name stars but that would risk upsetting their ethos if they did not fit. New signings will be needed but the club will ensure they will slot into the squad. The Italian went out to lunch with the squad and owners on Tuesday as they celebrated their triumph and he has often stated he has never had a dressing room like it.


While Ranieri will not upset the squad it is clear they will need to learn to juggle their responsibilities as they head for the Champions League. He knows how to do it after his time with Inter, Monaco and Chelsea but most of the players will never have experienced playing in Europe and the league - Vardy was playing non-league football four years ago. The whole club must step up a level, from on the pitch to the marketing offices, and Ranieri must do his best to guide the players through the changes.


The Italian is likely to be rewarded with a new contract after his astonishing success and has said he would be keen to end his career at the club. He has, unsurprisingly, been linked with other jobs including the Italy national team, with Antonio Conte joining Chelsea after Euro 2016. The club will want him to stay and it will only be a matter of time before the former Inter Milan manager puts pen to paper, with assistants Craig Shakespeare and Steve Walsh close to doing the same.


Ranieri has already set a top-10 target for the Foxes next season and insisted he does not expect them to defend their title. Even when the trophy was in touching distance the 64-year-old refused to discuss the possibility of winning the title and it worked perfectly. With the club and city in the middle of celebrations Ranieri will be aware it is important to keep the club and supporters from getting carried away - even if they are embarking on a new adventure.

Press Association

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