Leicester City could make another attempt to lure Martin O’Neill from the Republic of Ireland hotseat after sacking title-winning boss Claudio Ranieri
Before their Thai billionaires appointed the Italian in July 2015, they were rebuffed by their former manager O’Neill, who chose to see out his FAI contract till the end of the European qualification campaign and last summer’s finals.
O’Neill and the FAI have refused to confirm whether his new deal for the current World Cup tilt includes a release clause, something the Srivaddhanaprabha family would be keen to activate.
Key to any managerial appointment at the King Power Stadium is the influence of Jon Rudkin, Director of Football and Club Secretary Andrew Neville.
O’Neill worked under Rudkin during his successful stint at the club between 1996-2000 and played a part in recruiting Neville from his former club, Norwich City.
“I think they (Leicester) had a number of candidates they were interested in and just wanted to know my position,” O’Neill subsequently explained about their approach in July 2015.
Since then, the Ireland manager’s international career has taken flight, both at the Euros
and in the present series of qualifiers.
Leicester Supporters Trust chairman Ian Bason said: “I can’t see Martin O’Neill coming back and Nigel Pearson looks even more unlikely.
“It’s a massive decision to make. Swansea and Hull have seen a change of manager and gone on a good run but look at Crystal Palace... there’s no guarantee it’s going to have any success.”
He added: “It’s really quite sad, it seems strange timing to me. The new manager can’t make any signings so he’s got to get a different response out of the existing players.”
“I think some fans would prefer an English manager but who are you going to go for?
“I doubt we’ll be able to get Eddie Howe from Bournemouth so it’s going to be a question of who comes in and can they have a quick impact, not knowing the players so well?”
The stats behind fall of Ranieri
32: the Foxes are 32 points worse off than at this stage last season, with 21 as opposed to 53.
14: they have lost 14 games, compared to only two last season. They also have only five wins as opposed to 15.
24: their goal tally tells a similar tale of woe, having scored 24 this season against 47 through the same number of games last term.
0: away wins this season. They have taken three points from 13 away games - only Burnley, with one from 11, have worse record on road.
0: also the number of Premier League goals they scored in 2017, in six games which have brought them only one point.
11: in all, Leicester drew a blank in 11 games this season - it happened just three times the whole of last season.
3.2: Leicester’s average for shots on target per match this season, the third-worst record in the division. Last season they ranked fifth, average 4.8.
343: minutes the Foxes have spent in the lead in matches this season, compared to 863 at this stage last season.
5: England striker Jamie Vardy, who scored in 11 consecutive league games last season on his way to 24 goals for the season and a Euro 2016 place, has just five this time around.
17/11: PFA player of the year Riyad Mahrez’s goal and assist tallies from last season. He has three goals and two assists this term.
5/3: Summer signing Islam Slimani leads the team with three assists and sets the pace alongside Vardy with five goals.
86: N’Golo Kante, the one significant departure from last season’s squad, has made 86 tackles this season in 24 appearances for Chelsea - ranking him third in the Premier League. Daniel Amartey, Wilfred Ndidi and Nampalys Mendy - signed for upwards of £33m altogether and tasked with filling the void he left in Leicester’s midfield - have totalled just 50 in 27 combined appearances.
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