More than four years on from their beautifully impossible title win, a lot has changed at Leicester City.
The masterminds behind the greatest underdog story in footballing history, Claudio Ranieri, Craig Shakespeare and Steve Walsh are all long gone and most of the members of that team are also no longer at the King Power Stadium.
N’Golo Kanté, Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater (remember him?) all departed in high profile circumstances, while some of the less revered title winners have similarly ridden off into the sunset with mixed success.
Jeff Schlupp, Shinji Okazaki and Leonardo Ulloa all continue to play in various parts of the world, meanwhile it was announced that the long-serving, but not, I repeat not, boring Andy King would be released from his contract on 30 June.
Robert Huth quietly retired in 2018, but occasionally pops up on Twitter for some politically incorrect jibing with Jonathan Walters, while Danny Simpson is at Huddersfield and still seemingly allergic to advancing into the opposition half.
Despite all this change, the two other members of Ranieri’s stubborn back four remain in LE2, sticking out as reminders of a glorious past that Leicester have tried so hard to move on from under Brendan Rodgers.
However, Rodgers has bucked a recent trend, deciding against hauling these historical monuments down by offering Wes Morgan and Christian Fuchs new deals at the club. On the surface, this seems like a surprising move as neither player appears to fit the Northern Irishman’s specifications, which contrary to popular belief is far more nuanced than merely someone who possess ‘good character’.
Rodgers favours youth, demonstrated by the fact that Leicester possess one of the youngest starting XIs in the Premier League, and both player is well past their prime years. Fuchs is 34 and Morgan is even older at 36.
Rodgers has shown little interest in utilising either player this season. The pair have cumulatively featured in just 16 league games – with the vast majority of those appearances coming from the bench.
So, why exactly have the pair been signed up then?
Well, Rodgers clearly has an eye on the increased fixture congestion that awaits his side next season. It would take a cock up of epic proportions for the Foxes to miss out on a Champions League spot now, and that, combined with FA Cup and Carabao Cup commitments, adds up to a hell of a lot of games for such a small squad.
Fuchs in particular is likely to be required to step up his playing time next term. Chelsea seem hell bent on signing Ben Chilwell for an obscene amount of money in the summer and with the England international far from the finished product defensively, the Foxes may be inclined to allow him to depart.
James Justin impressed prior to the Premier League’s suspension but is unproven and as there is a dearth of quality left backs in the current market, Fuchs is a safe pair of hands in the short term should the Foxes not succeed in bolstering their ranks. The former Schalke man can also slot into a back three if required, as he had done on several occasions this season.
It’s not just their on field contributions that will have swayed Rodgers into signing up the veteran pair though. Both have a key role to play in ensuring a happy and harmonious dressing room.
Rodgers has made a real point of keeping Leicester’s off field leaders on side. Claude Puel alienated many of the senior members of the squad with his cold approach and that played a key role in the Frenchman’s demise. Morgan in particular continues to command considerable respect within the dressing room, according to King Power Stadium insiders.
Therefore, although it is important that Leicester attempt to move from their glorious past, it is not yet time to complete the cull of title winners for the King Power Stadium. Both Morgan and Fuchs continue to have a role to play at a club which will hopefully be traversing across the continent in the Champions League next campaign.