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What next for the Foxes

Published : May 6, 2016, 10:56 pm IST
Updated : May 6, 2016, 10:56 pm IST

The sporting world doesn’t seem to be getting tired of celebrating Leicester City’s scarcely believable title in the EPL.

The sporting world doesn’t seem to be getting tired of celebrating Leicester City’s scarcely believable title in the EPL. No team’s success in any sport has had such a deep resonance all over the globe in recent times. It’s clear that people want to lap up the feat of Leicester because most of them know it’s a once-in-a-lifetime feel-good story.

As much as neutral fans would like such a fairy tale in some big league every season, deep down their hearts they will know that the story is too good to last. Realism is radically different from idealism. Football may continue to be a Spartan sport but money is the calling card of the professional game. Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri hit the nail on the head when he said the dominance of big clubs will continue for the next 20 years in England. The Italian knows that emulating his club’s achievement is not going to be easy for any team. When the party gets over, even Leicester will realise that they have set the bar too high for themselves.

With Pep Guardiola set to take charge at City next season, the Manchester club are expected to spend a fortune to get the players the Spaniard wants. Chelsea will shore up their squad under new manager, Antonio Conte, after a diabolical season. Jurgen Klopp, whose effervescence has already rubbed off on Liverpool, will be keen to join the title race in his first full season with the Reds. If Jose Mourinho goes to Manchester United as expected, he will surely require expensive reinforcements to an already pricey squad assembled by Louis van Gaal. In a make or break season with Arsenal, the miserly Arsene Wenger may also be tempted to splash the cash for one final assault at the title before he is forced to walk away. After a stupendous run in the league, Tottenham Hotspur are entitled to believe that they belong to the elite of English football. So, Leicester will have to overcome Super Six to do an encore.

It would be interesting to eavesdrop on Premier League’s marketing committing meeting after the success of Leicester. The improbable rise of the Foxes is the greatest upset in the history of English top flight, all right. How good is it for the coffers of the EPL The likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United turn the commercial wheel of the league with their huge support base outside England and the marketing executives of the EPL wouldn’t like an extended run for Leicester, who can’t hope to become a valuable brand after one productive season.

Ranieri’s team must do well in 2016-17 to cash in on the impact their triumph has created. The Italian has implored his team to stay put for at least one more season. He has vowed not to break the dressing room by bringing in big stars. Riyad Mahrez, Leicester’s inspiration, wants to stay at the King Power Stadium. The tools are in place for the Foxes to prove that the title wasn’t a flash in the pan.