Leicester City’s final day defeat at the hands of Manchester United saw them fail to secure Champions League qualification for next season.
While fifth place in the Premier League represents a handsome finish for the Foxes, having been second at the turn of the year - a whopping 14 points clear of fifth-placed United – finishing outside the top four will undoubtedly leave a sour taste in the mouth of Brendan Rodgers.
Leicester’s impressive form over the past 12 months has seen a number of their star men linked with moves away from King Power Stadium, with Ben Chilwell and James Maddison both said to be on the wish lists of some of the Premier League’s top clubs.
Should the Foxes emerge from this summer’s transfer window having managed to fend off the interest surrounding the star men, it will undoubtedly represent a successful window, however, their end-of-season collapse is proof that they need far more quality additions to their current squad.
The Foxes’ squad was stripped to the bare bones in the latter stages of the campaign, with injuries and suspensions severely hampering their top-four tilt.
The starting lineup which took to the field for the club’s biggest game of the season against United was littered with inexperienced youngsters and aged stalwarts of the 2015/16 Premier League winning campaign.
Despite a spirited effort, an understrength Leicester side was unable to unlock a resolute United defence, and with the clock ticking down both managers turned to their respective benches.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was able to call upon the services of £47m Fred, £37m Juan Mata and £30m Eric Bailly, Rodgers wasn’t afforded nearly the same luxury, with four of his nine substitutes named sharing just 15 Premier League appearances for the season.
"We've got a great platform this season to hopefully improve and develop for next season.” ?— Leicester City (@LCFC) July 27, 2020
Brendan Rodgers spoke to LCFC TV following #LeiMun ?
While the United defeat was ultimately the game that cost Leicester a place in the top four, in truth the weeks leading up to the clash were equally as culpable.
In their fourth from last game of the season, the Foxes found themselves 1-0 up at half-time against Bournemouth and looked odds on to book themselves a place in Europe’s premier competition.
However, a moment of madness from Turkey international Çağlar Söyüncü completely turned Leicester’s run-in on its head. His red card for indefensibly lashing out at Callum Wilson saw the Foxes capitulate at the Vitality Stadium, going on to lose 4-1 and their end-of-season collapse began.
It just wasn’t to be today. I’m proud of what we have achieved this season, we have a fantastic squad of players with a European campaign to look forward to...the future is looking good for us. ? @LCFC pic.twitter.com/hLshsO74zF— Jamie Vardy (@vardy7) July 26, 2020
Leicester went on to lose two of their final three games, with Wolves loanee Ryan Bennett forced to fill in at centre-back.
Now, no disrespect to Wolves, but no side who’s looking to be competing alongside the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich should be fielding players deemed surplus to requirements at Wolves.
Despite their failure to achieve a place in the top four, it’s far from all doom and gloom at Leicester. Their squad contains a number of very promising youngsters – with both James Justin and George Thomas impressing – and recent reports suggesting they’ve tied Maddison down to a long-term deal.
However, if Rodgers wants to continue his side’s progression, keeping hold of their best players isn’t enough. Champions League qualification requires squad depth, and Leicester’s lack of it is the reason they aren’t a top-four team.