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What’s next for Leicester City after confirmation of their return to England’s elite?

Leicester City have won the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the Championship twice in the recent decade. The King Power Stadium is never silent.

However, it feels like a crucial step that they are back in the top level this time. There were serious doubts about Leicester’s financial future in the absence of this promotion.

Therefore, there was a palpable sense of relief in the Leicester ranks as well amid the exuberant scenes of celebration with the owners, supporters, and players following sealing the title with a 3-0 win over Preston on Monday.

With their possession-based style of play, Leicester has established themselves as the greatest club in the Championship, and Enzo Maresca believes they can compete in the Premier League as well.

Remember that he was trained as a pupil by Pep Guardiola, and he will be excited to test his tactical acumen against the world’s greatest managers.

Relegation from the Premier League was not part of Leicester’s strategy a year ago. They had one of the highest salary bills in the division and enormous intentions to expand their commercial base to level the playing field with the ‘big six’.

Leicester’s standing in the standings was demonstrated by their five straight top 10 Premier League finishes as well as their two fifth-place finishes during which they narrowly lost out on Champions League spots due to late-season tail-offs.

However, the unanticipated demoting followed. It struck with force. If Leicester didn’t make a swift comeback to the top of English football, a significant realignment of priorities was likely to occur.

As it stands, even with their promotion, Leicester still has a lot of serious problems to solve. Last but not least, even before they return a kick in the Premier League, they might be threatened with a point deduction for the next season.

Naturally, Leicester will oppose it and provide accommodations. However, Everton and Nottingham Forest did the same and received the same punishment.

Jamie Vardy, one of Leicester’s best players, has a contract that expires this summer, therefore his future is uncertain.

Vardy is anticipated to agree to a new one-year agreement in the coming days, though, as Leicester are back in the top tier. That’s at least a problem that can be resolved swiftly. The money issues will require more time.

It’s not like Leicester is having financial difficulties. Quite the contrary, they have some of the wealthiest and most encouraging owners in English football in King Power and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha.

Rather, the issues arise from an aspirational team with a limited revenue stream, striving to adhere to football’s expenditure regulations.

In 2023, the season of their relegation, Leicester was accused of violating the Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR) of the top division.

They were unable to be punished this season due to the strict deadlines and intricate rules that separate the Premier League and EFL; nevertheless, it is anticipated that an impartial commission will now be formed to consider the allegations against the Foxes.

2T08W2N Leicester, UK. 4th Oct, 2023. Harry Winks of Leicester City during the Sky Bet Championship match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Picture credit should read: Andrew Yates/Sportimage Credit: Sportimage Ltd/Alamy Live News

The only true uncertainty is how big the sentence will be and how much it will affect their chances of making it back to the top flight. That will almost definitely imply a sporting sanction.

Furthermore, as part of an ongoing conflict between the team and the EFL, the Championship’s owners declared in March that they intended to place commercial limits on Leicester, and their financial statements indicated that they were expected to breach EFL expenditure regulations this year as well.

Leicester must sell before the end of their June accounting month if they are to receive any income boost in time to meet EFL regulations.

Prize money and future TV revenue as a percentage of the Premier League pot need to be calculated. It’s also important to consider the timing of each revenue stream’s arrival, whether it’s in current fiscal year or the next.

However, player sales are unavoidable, and it’s very likely that Leicester will let go of Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, their greatest player, within the next two months.

Dewsbury-Hall is the most marketable and easiest player in Leicester’s roster out of all of them because he attended the academy there and would profit greatly from a transfer.

There are other options available to them besides selling Dewsbury-Hall; several Leicester players have shown promise this year and are being observed by other major teams.

However, selling Dewsbury-Hall would instantly address Leicester’s PSR concerns; it might be more difficult to make up the difference by offloading other players.

It should be noted that intelligent player trades and smart hiring practices have been the cornerstones of Leicester’s success over the last ten years.

In order to expand the team elsewhere, the club has a history of selling one key player each summer. Examples of these players include Danny Drinkwater, Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kante, Harry Maguire, Wesley Fofana, and Harvey Barnes.

It appears more likely than ever that Leicester will go back to the strategy that has worked so successfully for them in the past.

Abdul Fatawu is one example of this. His ascent, as one of the stars of Leicester’s promotion this season, is evidence of Leicester’s astute hiring.

Leicester must purchase Fatawu now that they have gained promotion, extending the winger’s loan from Sporting to a permanent deal for an estimated £14.5 million. That is a great deal.

Leicester must decide whether to cash in on the 20-year-old in order to bolster their roster elsewhere, as at least three Premier League clubs and two Champions League sides have expressed interest in signing the player. Could Leicester purchase and sell Fatawu during the same transfer window?

It remains to be seen how much money Maresca will have to spend on his team in order to get ready for life back in the Premier League. To get to where Maresca wants the team to go, Leicester, like they have so often in the past, will need to find a few jewels in the summer transfer window.

Given his limited resources, the Italian’s debut season as a manager in the top division could be a challenging baptism. It could be difficult going forward for the club after a turbulent time in its history.

Meanwhile, though, Leicester will enjoy a great success as they return to the promised land on their first try.

It is the first time the manager and key players such as Harry Winks, Fatawu, Dewsbury-Hall, Stephy Mavididi, and others have won silverware. They’ll cherish this occasion. Yet, they are also aware that a far greater difficulty is ahead.

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