More column inches have been written on Leicester City in this season alone than perhaps the club’s entire history, and the headline-stealing Foxes don’t look like relinquishing the attention anytime soon.
The east Midlands outfit will be spending Christmas Day top of the tree after a 3-2 win at Everton on Saturday ensured they can’t be ousted when Santa comes calling.
It’s capped a remarkable 12 months for the club who have produced one of sport’s finest turnarounds.
Exactly a year ago they were bottom of the Premier League on December 25, before a Nigel Pearson-led recovery saw them escape the drop zone with ease.
Claudio Ranieri has taken the club to the next level, but he’ll face a battle now to keep hold of his star men who are quickly becoming household names.
Jamie Vardy tops the Premier League goalscoring charts with 15 this season, two goals ahead of Everton’s Romelu Lukaku and Vardy’s team-mate Riyad Mahrez, arguably player of the season thus far.
Leicester signed Mahrez from Le Harve in January 2014 for just £350k, and this term the Algerian has been directly involved in 20 goals.
The 24-year-old’s form was always going to attract attention and though Ranieri is adamant is key players are staying put, the papers are reporting that Manchester United or Tottenham may launch a bid in the region of £29m, and that would surely test Leicester’s resolve.
Even in recent weeks the Italian manager has stated Leicester’s intention this season was to avoid relegation, and if Mahrez departed for £29m, the club would make a staggering 5,700% profit on the forward.
Five of the last six teams to be top at Christmas have gone on to win the league, and Leicester are just 10/1 to lift the Premier League trophy, having been 5,000/1 over the summer with more and more people convinced they have what it takes to go all the way.
No side has been top at Christmas and failed to finish in the top four this century, and euroclubindex.com predicts a third-placed finish for the Foxes, something Ladbrokes are offering at 8/5.
The holiday period will be another test for Ranieri and his men, with Leicester 11/4 to win against Liverpool at Anfield on Boxing Day.
Does Ranieri keep hold of his team and see where this fairytale story goes? Or does every player have his price? The Tinkerman may have some big decisions to make this January.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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