Mahrez, Kante, Maguire: The XI Leicester City could have had without major sales

Riyad Mahrez celebrates with Jamie Vardy while playing for Leicester City

The brilliance of Leicester City’s recruitment strategy was drawn into sharp focus this week as Chelsea and Manchester City booked their place in the Champions League final. 

Both clubs are lead by two of the greatest managers in the game and contain a multitude of first-class players who could conceivably walk into most sides on the planet. 

Amid the array of multi-million pound talent on show in both semi-finals, two members of Leicester‘s alumni put in a pair of exceptional displays across both legs to drive the Premier League outfits into the showpiece final on May 29.

The two players in question: N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez

Kante was at his indefatigable best in both legs. His pressing, timing and decision-making were all immaculate, creating a suffocating experience for two fallen giants in Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. 

Real Madrid’s duo once conquered this continent but Kante’s schooling marked the end of an era. 

Meanwhile, Mahrez scored three goals in two games against Paris Saint-Germain – including both strikes in the 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday – to prove that he is the epitome of a clutch player. He proved as much during the Foxes against-all-odds title win in 2016, and little has changed since. 

Though these performances may induce some poignant feelings amongst the Leicester faithful, Kante & Mahrez’s progress since leaving underlines just how astute the club’s recruitment team really is. 

Mahrez was signed for a measly fee of just £450k in 2014, while Kante cost them £8.1m in 2015.

The Foxes’ ability to cherry-pick gems has continued in recent years, providing the club with the foundations to ensure that their Premier League title was more than just a flash in the pan.

But the respective displays of Kante and Mahrez in Europe have still got the GIVEMESPORT team thinking about what could have been at the King Power Stadium. 

Brendan Rodgers’ current crop of players are outstanding and they deservedly occupy third place in the Premier League.

They’ve managed to transcend into England’s elite while playing a stylish brand of football and promoting academy talents, such as James Justin and Luke Thomas. 

However, their starting XI could have been even better had they held onto some of their most high-profile departees.

With that in mind, we’ve put together an XI including past and present Leicester players, with four of the 11 selected currently plying their trade for Premier League outfits. 

Kante, Mahrez, Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell join seven of the current crop in a brilliant line-up, though we must stress that the latter duo would struggle to get into Rodgers’ starting XI ahead of Wesley Fofana, Caglar Soyuncu and Justin on current form.  

Here’s how they line up.

GK: Kasper Schmeichel 

RB: Ricardo Pereira 

CB: Harry Maguire 

CB: Jonny Evans 

LB: Ben Chilwell

CM: N’Golo Kante 

CM: Youri Tielemans 

RW: Riyad Mahrez 

CAM: James Maddison 

LW: Harvey Barnes 

CF: Jamie Vardy 

That still leaves a bench including Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Timothy Castagne, Ayoze Perez, Soyuncu, Fofana and Justin – a contingent worth £174.6m combined, per Transfermarkt.

The decision-makers behind the scenes at Leicester have clearly got their strategy spot on.  

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