After the quite baffling news that Nigel Pearson had taken an arguably sideways step to manage cash-strapped Hull City in the close season, Leicester City were left without a manager.
Pearson had already demonstrated his class having successfully lead Leicester to the League One title and taken Leicester to their highest league finish in eight seasons. The vacant managerial situation at Leicester is not new to their owner Milan Mandarić, although it seemed a mistake to let this talented manager go.
Mandarić, during his ownership of Portsmouth, has already let a top manager leave his team, with Harry Redknapp leaving to go to Southampton. At that time Mandarić’ attempted to cover the loss by the appointment of Velimir Zajec and Alain Perrin, both of whom failed dramatically at Fratton Park.
It is obvious; however, that there has been no mistake this time in Sousa’s recruitment, having already earned a solid record in the Championship which proves that he is one of the most talented young managers in the game.
When people consider Sousa’s achievements at Swansea last season, the focus is unfortunately on the missing of a final play-off position or the fact they scored the least goals in the league. However, where Sousa is to be praised, is on the defensive side of his team, with Swansea conceding the second fewest goals in the Championship.
Sousa’s emphasis on defensive discipline will be crucial, and with primary signings such as Portuguese defender Miguel Vitor on loan, it is evident that he is tightening up an already good defence, which conceded the fourth fewest throughout last season. If Leicester manage to secure the services of goalkeeper Chris Weale, which looks likely, they should have a very solid base for the back five.
Sousa has recently released a comment stating his desire to play ‘DJ’ Campbell in the first team. With DJ having performed well when he was away on loan, particularly at Blackpool, hopefully Sousa can get the best out of him in a Leicester shirt.
That, together with the undoubted quality Matty Fryatt has shown for the past two seasons, and with Paul Gallagher looking to build on the glimpses of brilliance that were evident last season, Leciester’s attacking line-up is looking more than competent, even with the expected absence of Martyn Waghorn, who has returned to Sunderland after his loan spell.
One or two signings in the offensive department are needed in order to prevent a repeat of Sousa’s goal scoring problems from last season, and with this the Foxes can be challenging the playoffs once again.
Paulo Sousa was once named as part of the ‘Portuguese Golden Generation’ and with the right signings, renewed contracts and the nurturing of Leicester’s already strong youth, he will be able to lead Leicester to their own golden generation; one that will rival that of the Martin O’Neill team of old.
Although fans may have reservations about whether Leicester can emulate their success from last season immediately, it is evident that Sousa will give the club the stability it needs. Then with this stability in place, it is Sousa who can drive Leicester forward, back into the Premier League.
*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.