Leicester City have no need to sell any of their talented rising stars and jeopardise the “really good outfit” the club has an exciting opportunity to build, according to Gary Lineker.
Leicester are currently second in the Premier League table on 45 points, one ahead of the reigning champions, Manchester City. They also remain contenders for both of English football’s two major cup competitions and will spend this week preparing for the first leg of their League Cup semi-final against Aston Villa.
Lineker, who won three top-flight Golden Boot awards with Leicester, Everton and Spurs in the 1980s, spoke to Squawka while preparing to host BBC’s coverage of Liverpool vs Everton in the FA Cup third round.
“We’re reaching an era of the big three. Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester!” joked Lineker, when asked whether the East Midlands side could be on their way to dismantling the ‘Big Six’ dominance that has characterised the majority of Premier League seasons throughout the last decade.
“It’s great what is happening at Leicester and it’s quite unbelievable in many ways. They’re such a good side,” added the Match of the Day presenter, who feels his boyhood club’s 2015/16 Premier League title win is “obviously the biggest sporting team miracle of all time, in my totally unbiased opinion.”
Leicester’s current top scorer and front-runner for the Premier League Golden Boot, Jamie Vardy, may be 32. But in James Maddison, 23, Caglar Soyuncu, 23, Ben Chilwell, 23, Wilfred Ndidi, 23, Youri Tielemans, 22, and Harvey Barnes, 22, they have a selection of six young and important players who have all played at least 1,000 minutes in the top flight this season.
Of course, the development of these players signals not just a bright future for Leicester, but also opportunities for other clubs looking to recruit from rivals within the division. According to several news outlets, for instance, Manchester United are interested in Maddison, a skilled playmaker and set-piece taker who created 100 chances in the Premier League last season.
According to Lineker, on the other hand, the club’s financial situation is such that there is no need for Leicester to engage with this particular kind of interest.
Guaranteed that this is just a complete and utter guess. Throw enough darts……🙄 https://t.co/NHp9nFziW3
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) January 5, 2020
He explained: “They’re a young team as well, they’re going to get better, they don’t need to sell players and [have] wealthy owners. I’m sure a lot of teams would like [to sign] a lot of Leicester’s players but they’re doing something together and they could become a really good outfit.”
In addition to their League Cup success, Leicester City have also qualified for the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Championship side Wigan.
Their opponents for the next phase will be another team from the second tier in the form of Brentford. The Bees are flying high in third place in the Championship table but Leicester will be clear favourites to progress.
Follow the FA Cup this year on the BBC across TV, radio and online.