Thursday, 30 June 2011

Hobbs completes permanent deal with Tigers

Jack Hobbs has, an anticipated, completed a three-year permanent deal to move to Hull City.

The Liverpool-born defender joined former Foxes' boss Nigel Pearson on a three-month loan last season and Pearson's desire to capture the 22-year-old led to his signing for the Tigers for an undisclosed fee last night.

Hobbs made 130 appearances for Leicester City after being signed on loan by Pearson in 2008. After a highly successful season, Hobbs signed a three-year contract at the Walkers Stadium but became unhappy after losing his first team place in Sven Goran Eriksson's side and made the switch to the KC Stadium in January.

Monday, 27 June 2011

2010/11 Analysed: Player-by-Player (Part Two)

Permenant Squad
13. Conrad Logan
As the Foxes' longest-serving player, Logan has an odd affection afforded to him by Leicester City's fans. However, his inability to secure a first team place - and subsequent numerous loan deals, this year to Bristol Rovers - has seen him consistently at the bottom of the goalkeepers' pecking-order at the Walkers Stadium. Expect more of the same next season, and a cameo appearance if we're very lucky.

14. Martyn Waghorn
A favourite amongst the Foxes' faithful, Waghorn was purchased for £3 million as a failing Paulo Sousa tried to win over those same supporters. That failed for the Portuguese manager and, so far, for the bright young striker. Waghorn failed to make an impact in 2010/11, only serving as a bit=part player under Sven Goran Eriksson. It seems his time as a star in royal blue is fading.

15. Bruno Berner
It seemed that Berner was set for another cracking season as a reliable and skilful left back. But the arrivals of Greg Cunningham, Patrick van Aanholt and Ben Mee put paid to his first team place. On more than one occasion it seemed he was on his way to pastures new but, ever the professional, he opted to stay at the Walkers Stadium and fight for his place. Hopefully he will continue to do so in 2011/12.

17. Dany N'Guessan
Considering his bright start under Nigel Pearson it seems strange that N'Guessan has scored only three times in his 31 appearances for Leicester City. Still only 23, the Frenchman has been absent for the entire season as he shipped-out on loan first to Scunthorpe before moving to Southampton in January. With Eriksson apparantly unimpressed, it is likely that N'Guessan will spend 2011/12 similarly on loan.

18. Tom Kennedy
The move for the left back was made early last summer and, despite being available from the start of the season, Kennedy made just one single appearance in a Leicester City shirt. Successful loan spells at Rochdale - his former club - and Peterborough United followed and it looks almost certain that Kennedy will be leaving the Walkers Stadium, possibly for London Road, this summer.

19. Richie Wellens
An ever-present in the first team, Wellens was once again the beating heart of the Leicester City midfield. Deservedly, Wellens won the club's Player of the Year award in May, beating-off stiff competition from the likes of Andy King with whom he has made the Foxes' midfield on of the best in the league. Wellens is set to make 2011/12 another cracking season.

22. Yuki Abe
Moving to a new country, a new city and a new club must have been a daunting prospect for the popular Japanese midfielder, but Abe has made the transition and put in consistently solid performances throughout the season. Making 40 appearances through the season, he has the consistency but needs to prove he has the talent to compete with any new midfield signings next season.

23. Franck Moussa
Making the step-up from League Two, Moussa's potential was clear as he was signed by Sousa in August. In his eight Foxes appearances Moussa did demonstrate flashes of his talent and socred in the 3-1 league victory over Scunthorpe United. He moved to Doncaster Rovers as an emergency loanee in January and made a modest success of himself, making twelve appearances and netting twice.

25. Jack Hobbs
Hobbs did not make an appearance in royal blue throughout the season, his loan deal to Hull City agreed in the summer as he followed Nigel Pearson to the KC Stadium. His future remains unclear: remain at the KC Stadium to play a small role as part of the Tigers' play-off ambitions, or return to the Walkers Stadium and play a key role in Sven Goran Eriksson's renaissance? The choice is his.

26. Tom Parkes
Yet to make a first team appearance, Parkes consolidated his recent Football League experience with Yeovil Town and Burton Albion and will be looking for a regular first team berth on loan again next season.

29. Liam Moore
The England under-17s starlet will be hoping to make his mark on the first team next year, having been handed a squad number for the first time in 2010. The defender is unlikely to take to the field in the Foxes's first XI but could make appearances on loan in the lower leagues.

31. Jeffrey Schlupp
The young German/Ghanaian striker is the hottest talent in the Foxes' academy at present. Like Tom Parkes and Liam Moore, Schlupp was given his first Leicester City squad number in 2010 and he was rewarded with an astonishing six goals in just nine appearances (two goals in every three games - better than any England international) during a loan spell at Brentford. Expect Schlupp to emerge into the Leicester City first team next season. He is certainly one to watch.

33. Leon Crncic
The Serbian forward was signed-up by Paulo Sousa after impressing on trial during the summer. But for appearances in pre-season friendlies, Crncic has nothing to show for his three-year contract. Absent from the first team and failing to make a loan deal, his future remains somewhat clouded.

34. Sol Bamba
Signed in January, the friendly Ivorian defender with an odd Scottish/French accent became a Leicester City hero after he scored three goals in his first two appearances - the first with his first touch of the ball in English football against Manchester City in the FA Cup. Signed by former Ivory Coast manager Eriksson, under whom he played at the 2010 World Cup, Bamba is set to play a key role at the heart of the Foxes defence next season.

37. Darius Vassell
Another man who Eriksson coached at international level, Vassell signed as the Swede's first aquisition at the Walkers Stadium. Becoming a first team regular, the English striker contributed two goals throughout the season and will hope to build on that tally next term. His position, however, remains unclear as Eriksson looks to strengthen his promotion-chasing squad.

40. Adam Smith
The likable young goalkeeper made the step up to the bench as he stood-in as third choice goalkeeper, with Conrad Logan on loan and either Chris Weale or Ricardo not selected. Smith could once again see himself warming the bench next season but will most likely be seen gaining experience in a lower league.

Yann Kermorgant
The Frenchman every Leicester City fan wants to forget remains on the club's books and remains a Foxes' player. He returned to France soon after his penalty miss put the Foxes out of the 2009/10 play-offs and made 26 appearances for AC Arles Avignon, scoring three goals. It seems highly unlikely that he will figure in Sven Goran Eriksson's plans.

Cian Bolger
The 19-year-old remains without a squad number at his parent club, but was allowed out on loan and made six appearances for Bristol Rovers in 2011 - scoring an own goal and being sent-off in consecutive games.

Schmeichel pens 3-year deal

Leicester City have agreed terms with Kasper Schmeichel in a three-year deal believed to worth far in excess of a million pounds.

Schmeichel makes his move amid some controversy. A bid for the 24-year-old goalkeeper was accepted by Leeds United last week but a tweet posted on the Dane's account appeared to scupper any deal. Yesterday, Schmeichel revealed in a video that his account was hacked and that he was open to a move, before a press unveiling at the Walkers Stadium confirmed his signing for the Foxes this afternoon.

Undisclosed: Fee for Kasper Schmeichel is at least £1 million

Schmeichel will be linking-up once more with Sven Goran Eriksson, under whom he has played at both Manchester City and Notts County, with the Swede keen to see the son of former Manchester United keeper Peter flourish under his tutelage.

"Sven knows Kasper extremely well," said Leicester City's Football Director Andrew Neville, "He regards him very highly so we are delighted to have brought him to the Club. He has already made a big impression both domestically and internationally and is another player at a good age for our long-term objectives."

The Dane is indeed likely to have an impact on the Foxes' first team, his signature sure to be at a cost to current number one Chris Weale, who is now likely to see his options in the East Midlands become limited after some shaky performances towards the end of the season.

Foxes secure Danns' signature

Midfielder maestro: Danns' Palace contract ends
Leicester City have secured the services of Neil Danns from Crystal Palace on a free transfer, fending-off Scottish champions Rangers in the process.

The 28-year-old has been at Selhurst Park for three seasons in which he has acted as the lynchpin of the Palace midfield, making over 100 appearances for the Eagles.

With his contract due to expire at the end of June, he will make his first media appearance as a Leicester City player on Friday.

Danns took in spells at Blackpool and Hartlepool United on loan from Blackburn before he made his name at Colchester United. The talented midfielder then moved to Birmingham City for £500,000 in 2006, taking-in two seasons at St Andrew's before signing a three-year deal with Palace in 2008. Now, Danns has signed a three-year contract with the Premier League-chasing Foxes and looks set to play a key part in their promotion campaign.

Leicester close to signing Mackail-Smith

Peterborough United have accepted an undisclosed bid from Leicester City for striker Craig Mackail-Smith.

Posh chairman Barry Fry confirmed an offer had been made and that the offer of a potential move is now on the plate for the striker.

"We have accepted a bid from Leicester," said Fry, "Their manager Sven-Goran-Eriksson is out of the country at the moment, but was due to speak to Craig over the weekend."

Fry also confirmed that Mackail-Smith, 27, turned-down the opportunity to move to Premier League newcomers Norwich City and QPR, whilst Posh have dismissed an offer from relegated West Ham United.

"I have had several conversations with West Ham," said Fry, "But we have turned down their bid. I am certain they will be back. Craig is facing a tough decision. He turned down Norwich and he has now turned down QPR."

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail have confirmed the capture of Tsepo Masilela on a year-long loan from Maccabi Haifa, with a view to a potential €2 million permenant transfer. The club are yet to comment.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Israeli press links Foxes with South African defender

Lively: Left-back Tsepo Masilela
Fresh rumours have surfaced about the prospect of South African international Tsepo Masilela joining Leicester City.

It seems that, with Israeli outfit Maccabi Haifa keen to push the price of the pacey left full-back beyond £2 million, the only option for Sven Goran Eriksson is to sign the Bafana Bafana defender on a short-term deal.

According to the Israeli press, the 26-year-old has signed a two-year extension to his contract with Haifa. However, he will not travel with his teammates to their pre-season tour in Austria this week and is close to signing on loan at the Walkers Stadium until the end of the season.

Masilela made his name at the former Benoni Premier United in his native South Africa before moving to Israel in 2007. He has since made 97 league appearances for Haifa, helping them to the Israeli Championship and UEFA Champions' League qualification. Since 2006 he has made 32 appearances for his country, including appearances in the African Cup of Nations and last summer's World Cup.

The transfer of Masilela now hinges on his obtaining a work permit to allow him to make the move from Israel to work in the UK. According to the player's agent, all the relevant paperwork has been submitted and it is now up to the authorities to allow Masilela to travel to the East Midlands for his medical.

Edited 27/06/2011 20:06

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

City submit offer for Korean striker

Sven Goran Eriksson has made a move to try and lure North Korean striker Chong Tese to the Walkers Stadium.

Chong - whose name follows Far Eastern naming conventions and is also Anglicised as Jong Tae-Se - currently plies his trade at Bundesliga.2 outfit VfL Bochum and, according to Nikkan Sports, Leicester City have made a bid of approximately €700,000 for the player.

The 27-year-old - nicknamed 'The People's Rooney' in his native North Korea - played for four years at Kawasaki Frontale and scored an impressive 47 times in 112 appearances and, after a trial with Blackburn Rovers, he moved to Germany last season where he scored 10 goals in 25 games. However, he was hampered by injury last season and is currently in Japan having undergone knee surgery last week.

Born in Japan to South Korean parents, Chong controversially obtained a North Korean passport directly from that state's embassy in Tokyo. The South Korean government's rules do not allow a citizen to hold dual citizenship with North Korea, a state not recognised in South Korean law.

VfL Bochum have rejected Leicester's bid for Chong, their president stating that they dismissed the Foxes' offer as being under their valuation of the striker. Negotiations continue.

Edited 25/06/2011 23:38

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Peltier to be unveiled as Foxes player Wednesday

Quick: New signing Lee Peltier
Leicester City have agreed terms with the club's first signing of the 2011 summer transfer window.

Exciting full-back Lee Peltier has joined the Foxes on a three-year deal for an undisclosed sum. The 24-year-old, who plays on the right wing, will be registered as a Leicester City player tomorrow morning after the club agreed his transfer with Huddersfield Town yesterday, for an undisclosed fee.

Peltier has lit-up League One after two impressive seasons with the Terriers, his dynamic skill and pace marking him out as a hot prospect for the future. The full-back began his career as a graduate of Liverpool's academy before spells at Hull City and Yeovil Town. Moving to the Galpharm Stadium eighteen months ago, Peltier picked-up the club's Player's Player of the Year award last season and again impressed this term - enough for Sven Goran Eriksson to bid a reported £750,000 for the Englishman.

Bristol reject bid for Maynard

Hot property: Foxes bid £3m for Maynard
Bristol City have rejected a bid from Leicester City for striker Nicky Maynard.

The 24-year-old is rumoured to have been courted by the Foxes as well as by Nottingham Forest and Southampton, with just a year remaining on his contract at Ashton Gate. But Robins' manager Keith Millen believes the former Crewe Alexandra striker - signed by Bristol from Alex in 2008 for £2.25 million - is too valuable as an asset to the club.

"Nicky is part of the team and squad I want to build for next season. The speculation has certainly heated up but he's back from holiday next week and I'll be looking to speak with him. Our stance is we still want him to sign a new contract, the board are strong and sticking to that."

Sven Goran Eriksson's Foxes are rumoured to have bid over £3 million for Maynard, scorer of 37 goals in his 98 appearances for Bristol.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Schmeichel bid accepted by Leeds

Leeds United have accepted an offer from Leicester City for goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. The 24-year-old Dane is just to agree terms with the Foxes before he is unveiled as the club's new goalkeeper.

United's boss, Simon Grayson, said that he pleased with the deal.

"We feel this is the right deal for the club. We spoke to Kasper's agent at the end of the season about a contract extension and it was apparent that it was going to be difficult to agree a deal. Given the fact he has one year remaining on his contract we feel this is in the best interests of Leeds United."

Schmeichel - son of former Manchester United and Denmark keeper Peter - started his professional career with Manchester City, making loan appearances for Darlington, Bury, Falkirk, Cardiff and Coventry before moving on to Notts County then Leeds United for a successful season: he kept 9 clean sheets in 37 appearances for the Lilywhites in the Championship last season.

The Dane has, however, revealed via his Twitter account that he is not yet ready to sign a deal with any club. In his statement he reiterated that he is yet to sign a deal to move away from Elland Road.

"I want to put on record that I have never asked to leave the Leeds United, nor did I reject an offer for a new contract, since one was never put to me. I was enjoying being a Leeds United player and was looking forward to winning promotion this season with the club.

"I have spoken to the manager Simon Grayson and he has made it clear to me, that, in spite of having played well for him, this is something he believes is a good deal for Leeds United. I have been put in a very difficult situation and will spend some time considering my options for my future."

The deal seems now to be on hold pending that decision from Schmeichel.

Edited 21/06/2011 16:56

Saturday, 18 June 2011

2010/11 Analysed: Player-by-Player (Part One)

Given that these not-so-sunny late Spring days have yet to yield the glut of signings anticipated by many Foxes, it seems fitting to fill this void not with rampant speculation about imminent appointments (it's David Nugent tomorrow, apparently) but with a player-by-player look back at a turbulent season past down Filbert Way and view forward to what we all hope will be a successful 2011/12 campaign.

Permanent Squad
1. Chris Weale
It was a season of mixed emotion for Weale, whose goalkeeping suffered in confidence as his position remained unsecure throughout the season. Latterly, Ricardo made a number of appearances in goal as Sven Goran Eriksson favoured him to the Bristolian who will be hoping that a new goalkeeper is not one of the Swede's priorities for the summer transfer window if he is to re-stake his claim to the number one jersey.

2. Robbie Neilson
The Scottish defender made few appearances over the course of the season and failed to establish himself as the favoured right-back after successive loan players made the position their own. Neilson grabbed his first - and only - goal in royal blue in the League Cup against Macclesfield Town, but poor performances led to his being told to find a new club at the end of the year.

3. Aleksandar Tunchev
The popular Bulgarian received a rapturous ovation as he made his first appearance in nearly eighteen months against Watford in April, before successfully completing an hour in the Foxes final game of the season, against Ipswich Town. Tunchev will hope that he remains fit enough to be a part of Eriksson's plans for 2011/12, with fans wishing once more to see him back on form as he was before his knee injury struck in January 2009.

6. Moreno Teixeira
Signed by Paulo Sousa in August last year, Moreno hoped to become a regular in the Portuguese manager's new vision in the East Midlands, but only made three appearances in a season where he became largely forgotten. In signing a three-year contract he remains on the club's books and, who knows, he may yet become a first-team regular as he was in Portugal this time last year. That, however, looks doubtful.

7. Paul Gallagher
Consolidating a great first season with the Foxes, Gallagher became the club's best-scoring striker with his reliable penalty-taking and impressive free-kick abilities. The Scot - still only 26 - will be a lynch pin of Eriksson's play-off ambitions (the Swede has likened his ability to that of David Beckham) and with a new four-year contract signed he is in for the long-haul.

8. Matt Oakley
Oakley received much criticism from the Foxes' faithful throughout the 2010/11 campaign, with many arguing that his selection was a bizarre choice given the quality of other players in the squad. Oakley, however, hit back with impressive performances towards the end of the season and - despite having retired the captaincy - remains an important presence in the dressing room, as he will do into next season and beyond.

9. Steve Howard
The likeable Scot remained in and around the Foxes' camp all season despite his being linked with a number of loan deals and performed a valuable role in using his aerial ability and strength to cause numerous problems for defenders. Howard has been again linked with moves away from the Walkers Stadium, with Sheffield Wednesday supposedly interested. Should Howard leave, he will be remembered warmly by Leicester fans.

10. Andy King
Captain Fantastic struck more goals than any other player to take the club's golden boot and yet some fans were still critical of his apparently 'anonymous' performances. King had his off days - as every team member does from time to time - but overall this was season where the young Welshman came of age. Regularly scoring, leading from the front and establishing himself at international level last year, the only way now is up.

11. Lloyd Dyer
A faltering year for the fast-paced winger who saw competition for his place from the likes of Darius Vassell. He contributed fewer goals than in the past two seasons, netting just three times in the league, but made valuable contributions in the FA and League Cups. Dyer's future remains in the East Midlands but his position as first in line to the left wing slot remains under threat.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Leicester kick-off against Coventry

Leicester City's 2011/12 Football League Championship campaign will begin at Coventry City's Ricoh Arena.

The Foxes will play their local rivals in an early lunchtime kick-off on Saturday, 6th August, making that fixture the curtain-raiser to the new football season.

In an early test for Sven Goran Eriksson's men, the first home fixture of the new term will be against Reading the following week. It will be a busy opening month to the new season, with a trip to East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and home ties against Bristol City and a returning Southampton.

The festive relationship with the Foxes and Ipswich Town continues with the Tractor Boys chugging to the Walkers Stadium on Boxing Day, with Portsmouth making a long journey north on New Year's Eve. The season will end with a tricky double-header, with the relegated West Ham United visiting the East Midlands on 21st April before the Foxes' season closes a week later, with a trip to Leeds United's Elland Road.

2011/12 Fixtures in Full
August 2011
Sat 6 - Coventry City (a)
Sat 13 - Reading (h)
Tue 16 - Bristol City (h)
Sat 20 - Nottm Forest (a)
Sat 27 - Southampton (h)

Sat 10 - Barnsley (a)
Sat 17 - Brighton & Hove Albion (h)
Sat 24 - Cardiff City (a)
Tue 27 - Middlesbrough (a)

Sat 1 - Derby County (h)
Sat 15 - Birmingham City (a)
Tue 18 - Watford (h)
Sat 22 - Millwall (h)
Sat 29 - West Ham United (a)

Tue 1 - Burnley (a)
Sat 5 - Leeds United (h)
Sat 19 - Crystal Palace (h)
Sat 26 - Portsmouth (a)
Tue 29 - Blackpool (h)

Sat 3 - Hull City (a)
Sat 10 - Peterborough United (h)
Sat 17 - Doncaster Rovers (a)
Mon 26 - Ipswich Town (h)
Sat 31 - Portsmouth (h)

January 2012
Mon 2 - Crystal Palace (a)
Sat 14 - Barnsley (h)
Sat 21 - Southampton (a)
Tue 31 - Middlesbrough (h)

Sat 4 - Brighton & Hove Albion (a)
Sat 11 - Cardiff City (h)
Tue 14 - Watford (a)
Sat 18 - Birmingham City (h)
Sat 25 - Derby County (a)

Sat 3 - Coventry City (h)
Tue 6 - Bristol City (a)
Sat 10 - Reading (a)
Sat 17 - Nottm Forest (h)
Tue 20 - Blackpool (a)
Sat 24 - Hull City (h)
Sat 31 - Peterborough United (a)

Sat 7 - Doncaster Rovers (h)
Mon 9 - Ipswich Town (a)
Sat 14 - Millwall (a)
Tue 17 - Burnley (h)
Sat 21 - West Ham United (h)
Sat 28 - Leeds United (a)

All fixtures are subject to change, with television fixtures yet to be announced.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Foxes first fixture announced

The first competitive fixture for Leicester City's 2011/12 season has been announced, one day prior to the full league fixtures being released.

The Foxes will travel to Rotherham's Don Valley Stadium for the first round of next season's Carling Cup, with the game set to take place on the weekend of 8th August.

The draw - highlights of which include Notts County facing rivals Forest and Leeds United being paired with Bradford - will have whet the appetite of Football League fans across the country, ready for tomorrow's league fixtures announcement.

Lamey departs

Moving on: Michael Lamey made just seven Foxes appearances
Foxes' defender Michael Lamey has left the club by mutual consent having agreed a deal with Polish outfit Wisla Krakow.

Lamey, 31, was signed by ex-manager Paulo Sousa after he impressed during a trial spell. Lamey went on to make seven appearances under Sousa, but failed to make an impact after Sven Goran Eriksson was appointed in October last year.

Lamey has now terminated his contract with Leicester City and is set to be announced as a Wisla Krakow player within the next few days. 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Yakubu "close" to Foxes deal

Yakubu is close to signing a permanent deal at the Walkers Stadium, according to the BBC's Ian Stringer.

The striker made a success of his loan spell with Leicester City in the latter half of last season, scoring eleven goals in his twenty league appearances. And, despite fans' criticism of his supposedly 'lazy' style, he would prove a popular addition to Sven Goran Eriksson's squad.

Stringer understands that, despite newspaper rumours to the contrary, a deal has not yet been completed and deal is yet to be finalized due to delays at his current club, Everton.

It is, however, believed Yakubu will sign for Leicester City within the next week.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

New management team announced

The replacement for Lee Hoos, who left Leicester City Football Club last week, has been announced as Susan Whelan.

Miss Whelan will take Hoos' role as Chief Executive Officer having joined the Foxes' board in December following the take-over of the club by Vichai Raksriaksorn at the end of 2010. Whelan is connected to Raksriaksorn through his King Power empire, of which she is Senior Executive Vice-President.

Also joining the club is Simon Capper, replacing Mark Johnson as Finance Director. Capper has a background in accounting and previously fulfilled a similar role over three years at Sheffield United.

With these off-field appointments now in place, Foxes' fans will be hoping to see Sven Goran Eriksson begin to rebuild his depleted squad. The only movement so far this summer has seen ten players leave the Walkers Stadium, despite rumours strongly linking a number of players to the football club.