By reintroducing winger Rachid Ghezzal, Leicester City might save millions of pounds in the transfer market this summer.
The Foxes’ fantastic 2020/21 season came to an end with a final-day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
An own goal by Kasper Schmeichel was exacerbated by a Gareth Bale brace to condemn the Midlands team to a fifth-place finish for the second consecutive season, missing out on a Champions League qualifying slot by a single point.
Brendan Rodgers’ side will have work to do in the transfer window in the coming months if they are to ultimately break into the Premier League’s top four.
However, unlike many of its top-flight competitors, Leicester does not have a large budget to deal with when it comes to new players.
The current FA Cup winners have established their success by working cleverly in the market, buying young talents with a lot of potential, developing them, and then selling them for a lot of money.
The club’s leadership is targeting a similar strategy this time around, with links to highly-rated performers like Odsonne Edouard, Boubakary Soumare, and Nuno Mendes, but rumours of a move for Manchester United’s Dan James is indicative of an ulterior objective.
Rodgers was forced to play either attacking midfielder Ayoze Perez or full-back Ricardo Pereira out wide when key forward Harvey Barnes suffered a season-ending injury in February, restricting his side’s offensive power.
As a result, adding another winger to the mix to provide depth in that position makes sense, but Leicester may have the ideal candidate already.
When Ghezzal arrived at Leicester in 2018, he struggled to make an impression, making only eight league appearances and scoring just one goal as the Foxes dragged to a mid-table finish.
The Algerian international was then loaned to Fiorentina the next season, but his performances did not improve before his fortunes improved in the recently finished campaign.
For Turkish giants Besiktas, the 29-year-old scored eight league goals and provided an amazing 17 assists as Sergen Yalcin’s side achieved a domestic double.
While Ghezzal may not have the quality to drive Leicester into Europe’s top cup competition, the money saved by reinstating the tricky wizard would allow Rodgers to invest in players capable of doing so.
It’s a technique the Foxes should examine, especially given their current financial constraints, as it may be the difference between winning and losing next season.