Towards the end of April last year, the then Leicester City manager, Nigel Pearson made his now famous ostrich jibe, aimed at an inquisitive journalist, by saying “The fact that you don’t understand where I’m coming from. If you don’t understand that question, then I think you are an ostrich – your head must be in the sand. Is your head in the sand?”.
The line itself reads as quite humorous, however, delivered with Pearson’s steely-eyed gaze and in his deadpan, monotone voice, it came across as just short of psychotic. It shocked all football loving viewers who would then question not only his Foxes side chances of survival, but also his sanity. His aggressive style helped guide the club to safety but the owners, quite rightly, decided that a more tranquil environment was necessary.
The appointment of the Roman, Claudio Ranieri, was highly questionable. My blushes were only saved when I was unable to send an extremely derogatory article, questioning his appointment, due to a faulty internet connection.
This season though, has been like something from a Hollywood script; a collection of rogues, rejects and down-and-outs – headed up by the ultimate rags to riches tale in Jamie Vardy. As unlikely as it sounds Leicester sit at the summit of the Premier League and for the first time are actually favourites to claim the title.
Having lost a January bidding war with Intern Milan (how strange would that have sounded twelve months ago?) over the signature of former Sampdoria striker Eder, Leicester are reported to be considering a move for CSKA Moscow’s Nigerian forward Ahmed Musa.
The small, pacey forward is adept at operating either just off another striker or in wider areas. He has shown his worth in the last couple of Champions League campaigns, most notably against both Manchester Clubs, despite appearing for a largely uninspired side. For fans of the 2014 World Cup his two dazzling goals against eventual finalists Argentina, will live long in the memory.
The 23year old’s goal scoring record in the Russian top division (35 goals in 113 games – spread across 5 seasons) is far from breath-taking, yet, his industry, intelligence and pace could open up more chances for Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy
The fee demanded from CSKA is reported to be around £23million, a figure likely to rise if the rumoured interest of Manchester United is true, although it seems like anybody who has ever kicked a ball in anger has been linked to Old Trafford.
It shows just how far the club have progressed that they are now seen as a viable threat to a club of Manchester United’s stature not only on the park but in the transfer market.
When Leicester defeated Manchester City, 1-3 at the Etihad, they did so with a starting line-up that cost just £23million.
There is the fear that spending that entire sum on just one player may upset the harmony in the squad – a major factor in their meteoric rise.
Champions League football looks all but guaranteed and Ahmed Musa looks like a target with that future in mind, but Claudio Ranieri will be hoping that the little Nigerian will be joining the champions of England rather than “just” a fourth place finisher.