[GOOGLE NEWS FOOT UK] 🔵 Leicester squad audit: De Cordova-Reid, Golding and Okoli in, but plenty out and gaps to fill – Shango Media
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[GOOGLE NEWS FOOT UK] 🔵 Leicester squad audit: De Cordova-Reid, Golding and Okoli in, but plenty out and gaps to fill

When Leicester City chief executive Susan Whelan said the effects of relegation to the Championship would be felt for some time, she wasn’t exaggerating.

She also told the club staff it would be business as usual, but in terms of the playing squad and the club’s approach to recruitment, it has been anything but.

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The squad has seen a huge overhaul, with 10 players leaving at the end of their contracts and inevitable sales of key players.

Ambitions have had to be tempered and the club’s approach to the transfer window has had to be more pragmatic, with profit and sustainability rules (PSR) a huge factor in the club’s approach.

There are still some familiar faces, but the squad that will kick off in the Premier League on August 19 will have a very different look to the one that dropped into the Championship, especially in midfield and in attack.

Director of football Martyn Glover, who brought  Abdul Fatawu to former manager Enzo Maresca’s attention, new manager Steve Cooper and director of football Jon Rudkin have plenty of work still to do between now and the end of the summer window to get Leicester ready for the challenge ahead.

Here, The Athletic audits the Leicester squad as it stands…


Goalkeepers

Mads Hermansen (contract expires 2028)

The Denmark international was considered the most important signing of last summer by Maresca because of his ability on the ball as well as his general goalkeeping. Hermansen, who turns 24 today, has certainly enhanced his reputation and it wouldn’t be a huge shock if there was interest from other clubs in signing him.

Cooper may not require him to play in exactly the same way, but he is expected to be his first choice when the season begins.

Jakub Stolarczyk (2026)

The Polish keeper stepped up to be the number two under Maresca and was highly thought of by the coaching staff. Like Hermansen, he displays many of the modern goalkeeping traits and has come through the academy ranks.

He will have to impress Cooper and new goalkeeper coach Danny Alcock in pre-season.

Daniel Iversen (2025)

Iversen had to step up two years ago as Leicester spiralled towards relegation and didn’t let himself down, but his more traditional skill set didn’t match Maresca’s vision so he ended up out on loan last season at Stoke City and faced an uncertain future.

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There will be no shortage of Championship clubs interested in Iversen, who has just one year left on his contract, should Leicester consider selling him. That may well be a good option.

Danny Ward (2025)

It has been a frustrating time for Ward at Leicester. He must have thought he was being recruited to replace Kasper Schmeichel when Leicester paid £12million for his services in 2018. He then had to wait nearly four years to make his Premier League debut for the club and when he did finally step up, after Schmeichel’s departure, it was for the disastrous relegation season.

He made no appearances last season and Cooper is unlikely to want to carry four goalkeepers in his squad this season. It may be time for a fresh start.


Ward playing for Wales last month (Christian Hofer/Getty Images)

Defenders

Ricardo Pereira (2026)

After a couple of years of injury woes, Pereira played more minutes than in any other campaign for Leicester last season. The right-back stepped up to a new role and into midfield last season, and even played as a No 8 at times. His versatility and leadership after stepping up to become captain were important last season and he should have a similarly significant role under Cooper.

James Justin (2026)

Like Pereira, Justin proved his recovery from serious injuries last season and, while he wasn’t always the first choice under Maresca, he could play a more prominent role under Cooper, especially if he switches to a back three as either a left-sided central defender or wing-back. He will be looking to get himself back in the England picture.

Victor Kristiansen (2028)

The Danish left-back signed a long-term contract when he joined from Copenhagen 18 months ago, but Maresca’s arrival after relegation cast his future in doubt as the Italian had little use for conventional full-backs.

He had a good season on loan at Bologna and forced his way into the senior Denmark squad for the European Championship, but Bologna are unlikely to be able to meet Leicester’s asking price to make the move permanent. He will return to Leicester with a clean slate.

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Luke Thomas (2026)

Similar to Kristiansen, Thomas was sent out on loan last season, first to Sheffield United and then to Middlesbrough, but the academy graduate’s future seems uncertain. It will be a big pre-season for the left-back.

Wout Faes (2027)

The Belgium international was one of the players who may have thought they would be moving on after relegation, but he stayed to play an integral role in the promotion charge. In fact, it seemed too easy for him at times, leading to some lapses in concentration, but he insists he is happy at Leicester now they are back in the Premier League.

Conor Coady (2026)

The England international would have been disappointed with his lack of minutes last season, having stepped down to the Championship to seemingly play an important role in the promotion push only to pick up an injury in pre-season.

However, his experience could see him play a more prominent role under Cooper and his influence in the dressing room shouldn’t be underestimated.


Conor Coady with chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha after winning the Championship (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Harry Souttar (2028)

Like Kristiansen, Souttar paid the price of relegation and the arrival of Maresca, but unlike Kristiansen he chose to stay and compete for a place in the Leicester side, even rejecting opportunities to go out on loan.

But like everyone else, he has a fresh start under Cooper, who will be the fourth manager he will have played under in just 18 months.

Jannik Vestergaard (2027)

What a remarkable turnaround. Vestergaard was expected to leave after falling out with Brendan Rogers, only to become a key figure under Maresca to earn himself another three-year contract. But then Maresca left for Chelsea and it remains to be seen how big a role the big Dane will play under Cooper, with Leicester unlikely to dominate possession in as many games as they did in the Championship.

Ben Nelson (2027)

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The academy graduate was promoted by Maresca from the under-21s last season and was even preferred at times ahead of Coady because of his athleticism and ability on the ball. But this feels like it could be a huge season for the 20-year-old, who recently played for the England elite development squad. There is no shortage of clubs watching his progress and development.

Caleb Okoli (2029)

The Italy Under-21 international has stated he always dreamed of playing in the Premier League and now he gets to make his dream come true after his £13million ($16.7m) move from Atalanta. His arrival is another indication of Leicester’s return to the policy of trying to sign up-and-coming players who they can develop and turn into assets that will eventually return a profit.


Midfielders

Harry Winks (2026)

Winks took a big risk to drop out of the Premier League to kickstart his career under Maresca and, while it paid off with promotion, he will be disappointed to see Maresca move on to Chelsea.

But he is back in the Premier League and Cooper will attempt to reassure him the style of play won’t be a huge departure from the approach under Maresca, which accentuated Winks’ ability on the ball.

Hamza Choudhury (2027)

Choudhury made progress under Maresca having looked like he would have to move on under Rodgers, even heading out on loan to Watford for the 2022-23 season. He was handed a new contract last September.


Hamza Choudhury on Leicester’s parade in May (Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Boubakary Soumare (2026)

Having won the Ligue 1 title with Lille, Soumare struggled to make an impact in the Premier League over two seasons with Leicester and looked short of confidence. He has had a good season on loan at Sevilla last season and the Spanish side were reportedly interested in making the move permanent but cannot afford Leicester’s asking price or Soumare’s full wage, so he will return for pre-season.

With Leicester short of midfielders after the sale of Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and departures at the end of their contracts of Dennis Praet and Wilfred Ndidi, Soumare may have another to have a fresh start under Cooper.


Forwards

Bobby De Cordova-Reid (2027)

After joining on a free from Fulham, De Cordova-Reid has signed a three-year contract and will provide some Premier League experience to relatively inexperienced options in wide positions for Cooper.

Kasey McAteer (2025)

Academy graduate McAteer broke through last season, making 26 appearances and scoring seven times, but this will be a big jump up for him to Premier League level. That hasn’t stopped him being linked with a host of clubs, including some in the top tier.

Wanya Marcal (2026)

Another homegrown talent that broke through last season, although he didn’t feature anywhere near as much as McAteer, making just three Championship appearances. It did earn him a new contract, though, but a loan to gain experience might be best for his development.

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Abdul Fatawu (2029)

One of the most important signings of the summer. Fatawu was a revelation last season on loan from Sporting CP. He negotiated his release from the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ghana FA so he could remain at Leicester and trigger the clause for a permanent deal by making the required number of appearances. The fee of £14million has taken up a large chunk of the club’s transfer budget but he is an investment for the future.


Abdul Fatawu impressed last season (Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Stephy Mavididi (2028)

It has been a long but interesting journey for Mavididi to finally reach the Premier League, from the Arsenal academy via Charlton Athletic, Preston North End, Juventus, Dijon and Montpellier. He now gets to show what he can do at that level.

Michael Golding (2028)

Golding has made just one senior appearance totalling nine minutes, but Leicester see the ÂŁ5million they have paid Chelsea for the England under-18 captain as another investment for the future.

Jamie Vardy (2025)

The club legend and talisman feels fit enough to keep going and signed a one-year contract extension for this season. Whether it proves to be his last campaign, only time will tell. But Vardy doesn’t feel ready to hang his boots up yet.

Patson Daka (2026)

Leicester have a decision to make on the Zambia international, who almost joined Bournemouth last season only for the deal to be called off at the last minute as another deal fell through. Daka had a good spell either side of the Africa Cup of Nations but struggled in the second half of last season.

Tom Cannon (2028)

Cannon has had to be patient so far in his Leicester career after signing from Everton last summer. He made just 16 appearances last season and Cooper is expected to try to bring in another striker this summer to bolster his options.

(Top photos: left to right, Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Caleb Okoli; via Getty Images)

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