Whether or not they finish top of the Premier League at the end of the season, there is no doubt that the team of 2015 are Leicester City Football Club.
Rock bottom on New Year’s Day, the Foxes guaranteed they will be top dog this Christmas after opening a five point lead at the summit this afternoon with a spectacular 3-2 win against Everton at Goodison Park. It is a week that began with a thrilling 2-1 triumph over reigning champions Chelsea that signalled the end of the road for Jose Mourinho as manager at Stamford Bridge.
But can Claudio Ranieri’s men, one of the bookies favourites for relegation before the season kicked off, pull off the greatest upset in the history of the Premier League?
So far all the experts have written off the Foxes, insisting their run will end sooner or later because they simply do not have the strength in depth to hold off the so-called big boys. But these are changing times in English football, where we now boast not just the most popular League in the world, but also the most competitive League.
Unlike in countries like Spain, where Barcelona and Real Madrid invariably stand head and shoulders above the rest because they control the lion’s share of TV revenue, the Premier League’s strength is built on the way they distribute revenue more evenly than rival Leagues. It is a scenario that means all 20 Premier League clubs are in the Top 40 richest clubs in the world.
And that is what gives Leicester City the resources to invest in their unbelievable start to the 2015-2016 campaign and spalsh out on nerw signings who can push the Foxes all the way to the Champions League and the Premier League crown.
It sounds like a daydream for a club that has never been champions of England, the closest they came was 1928-1929 when they finished as runners up. Since winning the League Cup in 2000, the Foxes have spent most of their seasons outside the Top Flight, only returning to the Premier League in 2014.
The odds are that Leicester City will fall short. But if any smaller club are to conquer the giants there has never been a better opportunity for any club since Blackburn Rovers conquered all under Kenny Dalglish in 1995. And the most successful manager in the history of the Premier League believes the dream coud become reality.
Thirteen times winner of the Premier League, Sir Alex Ferguson is urging Claudio Ranieri to go for the jackpot when the mid-season transfer window opens:
“If I were him I’d want an investment in January because this is a big opportunity. They could win the league, the way they are playing at the moment, and they have goals in their team, ” says Fergie.
“The problem for the owners is have they got the money? I think they have. If he wants to win the league I think he should add to it. And I think there may be a great chance.”
The other big factor of course will be keeping star men Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez free of injury. Vardy has been the goalscoring sensation of the season with 15 so far including a record breaking run of scoring in 11 consecutive matches. While midfielder Mahrez, in my opinion the best player in the League and surely the signing of the year, has weighed in with 13.
So far, Leicester’s Thai owner Vishai Srivaddhanaprabhawith estimated net worth of $1.95bn, has have preferred an economical recruitment model, signing Algerian international Mahrez for just £400,000.
Nonetheless, this successful businessman must surely see the value of spalshing out to give his club the chance of making history and gtaking Leicester City into the promised land of the Champions League as champions of England.