Leicester director Neville slams critics

Director of football Andrew Neville has responded in an angry manner to claims that Leicester City are trying to ‘buy’ their way into the Premier League

Since Leicester were taken over a year ago by an Asian Football Investments Consortium, their transfer policies have been under close scrutiny, with no fewer than ten high-profile summer signings. The all-action transfer policy has been attracting the attention of the media and the bookies, who installed the Foxes as favourites to gain promotion from the Championship.

The leading consortium, fronted by the Raksriaksorn father-and-son duo, has made promotion their clear aim: “Our ambition was always to take Leicester back to the Premier League. They deserve to be there. If we don’t get there we’ll be disappointed and also the fans will be. I have to do it.”

The promotion or bust mentality has resulted in the Championship outfit shelling out £5 million for centre-back Matt Mills, alongside recruiting ex-Premiership players John Paintsil, Jermaine Beckford, Michael Johnson (on loan from Manchester City) and Paul Konchesky, who arrived for an undisclosed fee from Liverpool.

Other signings included Sean St-Ledger and Kasper Schmeichel, also for undisclosed fees.

This has led to reports of City spending around a total of £15 million in the transfer market, a figure that Neville ridicules: “Some of the fees we have been quoted as paying for players is ridiculous and way out of line. They have just been inflated,” he told the Leicester Mercury. The younger Raksriaksorn agrees: “This season we are planning to bring the team back to the Premier League so we have to spend some money. But not crazy money.”

Leicester have certainly been one of the busiest clubs in the transfer market and the lofty ambitions of their owners would suggest they will pay whatever they believe it takes to earn their side promotion back to the top-flight.

Neville was perhaps more justified in pointing out that City are far from the only team flexing their muscles in the bidding war to secure their transfer targets: “You could say the same about Manchester City and Chelsea. In our division, I am sure West Ham and Southampton have spent a lot of money. I have been asked to give value to the owners and pay only what we think is right to pay. We have withdrawn from deals where we felt it wasn’t right to pay that much.” The same could be argued for Crawley Town, who have spent big again, strengthening their squad again this season, chasing a double promotion under owners providing financial weight.

With the total amount spent by Premiership teams in this transfer window reaching £478,195,000, if one thing is for sure, it seems teams with ambitions like Leicester will have to spend big to access and compete at the highest level. With media speculation over undisclosed fees and wage expenditure, perhaps Leicester have been drawn a bad hand, as they are certainly not alone.

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