As people still come to terms with Leicester City's miraculous Premier League title win last season, the new campaign beckons and is set to resume in a few weeks time.
The Foxes kick off the new league season with a trip to newly promoted Hull City, a game Claudio Ranieri's men will be expected see through with relative ease.
Having recently begun their pre-season campaign, the champions have been rather quiet in the transfer market.
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Perennial Premier League giants such as Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United have been noticeably busy in trying to reinforce their respective teams in a bid to force their way into the top four next season, and maybe even dethrone Ranieri's men.
Leicester, on the other hand, haven't shown any urgency in recruiting new players in order to put forth a formidable title defense.
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The failure to add real quality to their squad could be a step in the wrong direction, which could leave them trailing behind the other pretenders to the Premier League throne.
Lack of Transfer Activity
The capture of relatively unknown entities, Ahmed Musa and Nampalys Mendy, is a far cry from the transfer activity that other big teams in the league have been engaging in.
Winning the Premier League is one thing, but repeating the feat is a whole different ball game, as competitors and opposition players are going to be more aware of the champions and will undoubtedly raise their game during the upcoming season.
In order to tackle such a situation, it is imperative that Ranieri brings in more talent into the squad, which could inject much needed quality into the team.
Having clinched the title with a relatively lesser talented squad, the Foxes would be naive to believe that they could achieve something similar next season with the same group of players.
Another critical reason for bringing in new players is the team's first ever appearance in the Champions League, having secured automatic qualification to the group stages as champions of England.
With the current contingency of players, Leicester do not posses enough strength and depth to compete against the traditional big teams in England, much less European giants such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, or Paris Saint-Germain.
Therefore, in the few weeks left for the closure of the transfer window, Ranieri needs to dig into the club's coffers and make some telling purchases which could give the Foxes a helping hand.
According to the Mirror, Leicester are looking to bring in Norwich City's Robbie Brady, as well as Burnley's Michael Keane, in order to strengthen the squad. However, they might need more in terms of established talents in order to truly put up a fight next season.
Loss of Kante
Perhaps one of their heaviest losses during the summer, N'Golo Kante's decision to leave for Chelsea is sure to leave a hole in Leicester's midfield, which will be hard to fill.
Mendy, who played under Ranieri during his time at AS Monaco, is seen as a direct replacement for the tireless Frenchman, but it is difficult to imagine too many players who can cover ground like Kante.
The 25-year-old recorded the highest number of tackles (175) and interceptions (156) in 2015/2016, topping those charts by a safe distance. Known to cover long distances during a game, Kante works tirelessly and constantly tracks the ball.
Apart from his off the ball abilities, the French international is also adept at making surging runs to support the attack, possessing great ball control and strength. Players like Kante are usually deficient when it comes to composure and first touch, but the Leicester midfielder combines his sharp ball winning skills with effective attacking play.
Someone of that quality is rare to come by, proving to be one of the key ingredients in Leicester's title winning run.
Kante's loss could be detrimental to the club's chances next season, unless Ranieri can influence Mendy into replicating the Frenchman's performances.
PFA Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez has also been in the news recently, with rumors linking him with a move away from the King Power stadium. However, the former Chelsea manager has maintained his stance that the Algerian winger will stay with the club, especially after making an appearance during their first pre-season game against Oxford United.
Losing Mahrez would be yet another hammer blow for the Foxes, and Ranieri realises the importance of keeping the 25-year-old at the club.
Having suffered average campaigns by their standards, Man City, United, and Chelsea will all look to get back into the fold for title contention as soon as possible.
Having wasted little time in appointing new world-class managers, the aforementioned clubs have also reinforced their squad with genuinely talented players.
Jose Mourinho has brought in the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly, and the prolific Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the arrival of Paul Pogba imminent, reports the Mirror.
Chelsea have done their fair share of effective business by bringing in the promising Michy Batshuayi from Marseille, as well as Kante as mentioned earlier. New manager Antonio Conte is understood to be on the look out for a few more notable transfers before the end of the transfer market, with the Blues in desperate need for a quality centre-back.
The likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito are set to join a host of other stars at the Etihad. However, the biggest trump card that City brings to the table is their newly appointed manager Pep Guardiola, who has achieved immense success during his time with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Let's not forget other strong teams such as Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Southampton, and Everton, all of whom could be a threat to Leicester's chances of retaining their title.
In fact, looking at the above teams, the Foxes could very well finish below the entire bunch, given the incredible pedigree possessed by the these clubs.
Therefore, if care is not taken, Ranieri's men could see themselves in the same position as former champions Chelsea, or even worse.
Where will Leicester City finish in the Premier League next season? Post YOUR predictions in the comment section below!
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