Friday 18 August 2017 / 10:30 PM

TOUGH DECISIONS NEED TO BE MADE AT LEICESTER

I’ll get something out of the way right at the start: what Leicester did last season was remarkable and should rightly be lauded as one of the most amazing things to have ever happened in English football.

I’ll always remember the 2015/16 Leicester City side. Jamie Vardy banging the goals in. Christian Fuchs and Wes Morgan – rocks in defence. N’Golo Kante all over the midfield. Riyad Mahrez whizzing around creating chances.

And of course, behind it all, the eccentric but pleasant Claudio Ranieri, motivating his men and making things happen.

But it’s gone now. The side are a shadow of their former selves. Against Manchester United on Sunday, they looked like they didn’t belong in the Premier League – it’s as simple as that.

And if they continue on this trajectory, then they won’t be a Premier League football club for too much longer.

Which, however you dress it up, would be catastrophic for the club.

The league title is probably the best thing that’ll ever happen to Leicester City, but that certainly wouldn’t make relegation any more palatable. To come so far only to go back into the Championship would be a bitter disappointment, even if you consider the euphoria of last season’s title win.

Which is why it’s time to make some tough decisions. And one of them needs to be the departure of Claudio Ranieri.

Just to be clear, this is not me suggesting that Ranieri is a bad manager. Far from it.

I think the Italian is a good manager. But as the saying goes, sometimes a change is as good as a holiday.

Were Leicester to dispense with Ranieri’s services and bring someone in able to galvanise the squad, the Foxes would almost certainly experience that ‘new manager’ feeling that results in higher level performances.

It might not last. But it might last long enough for Leicester to steer themselves clear of the relegation zone. Because – make no mistake – the champions are now flirting with relegation.

I don’t think that Leicester will say goodbye to Ranieri. And on one level I understand why. He is the man to bring unprecedented success to the King Power Stadium – the attachment to him is understandably strong.

But on another level, I simply don’t understand it. At present, the only reason to keep Ranieri on is sentiment. Were it not for last season, he’d be out of a job. But it is pragmatism rather than sentiment that gets results these days – just ask Arsenal fans.

The Leicester board may be thinking that there are three worse teams in the league than them, and that may be true – but if the Foxes continue on this path, it really won’t matter whether there are worse teams on paper. If Leicester are serious about remaining a Premier League force, it’s time to make some tough decisions.

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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