Leicester looking upwards after pushing boat out for striker

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Leicester’s hopes of extending their Premier League stay beyond this season received a lift with the Foxes managing to agree a deal for prolific striker Andrej Kramaric, whom Chelsea had been favourites to sign.

Considering the table-topping Blues were very keen on securing the 23-year-old Croatian’s services, this has to be viewed as a real coup for Nigel Pearson’s side, with the Midlanders forking out a club-record fee of £9.7m.

Kramaric arrives from Croatian side Rijeka where the forward has plundered 28 goals from 31 games this season, catapulting him onto the radar of Premier League clubs.

This signing appears to rule out a mooted move for FC Toronto striker Jermain Defoe, though Foxes fans will quickly forget such speculation if Kramaric continues in the same scoring vein at the King Power Stadium.

Kramaric’s capture is in keeping with a fresh wave of optimism which has swept over Leicester’s struggling campaign, where the bottom-placed side are now shorter, at 11/10, than Burnley to stay up this season.

Having plummeted to the foot of the table after a 13-game winless streak, including 11 losses, the festive period finally provided some respite and now the gap to safety is a bridgeable four points.

A crucial victory over fellow danger-zone dwellers Hull was followed by a superb comeback at Anfield to earn the Foxes an unlikely point.

Since then, Pearson, who had been the subject of intense pressure and fan anger, has also safely guided his team past Newcastle and into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Argentine striker Leonardo Ulloa has certainly done his bit by contributing seven top-flight goals thus far, but supplementing that tally is vital to Leicester’s main aim of ascending the table.

All eyes will now be on Kramaric to do just that.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.