What next for Leicester? Four tempting bets for next season having bashed the bookies
Lee Gormley | May 4, 2016
Leicester’s 2016/17 season odds
Following Leicester City’s truly remarkable Premier League season, in which their historic top-flight success cost British bookies a mammoth £20m, the odds for their 2016/17 campaign are in and ready to be seized by punters.
Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes beat closest rivals Tottenham, Arsenal and both red and blue Manchester clubs to reign supreme this term, despite kicking off as 5000/1 outsiders to do the unthinkable last August.
With many lucky fans and punters having earned huge winnings off such success, there are plenty of intriguing prices available for next season, when Premier League champions Leicester will begin their defence at 6/1 with Coral to at least repeat a top four finish.
Top four spot next season
The Foxes face a tough task of retaining the services of their top stars this summer, with the likes of PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez, England frontman Jamie Vardy and France midfield enforcer N’Golo Kante set to be the subject of increased interest from around Europe after sublime personal campaigns.
Foxes boss Ranieri has already played down his side’s chances of repeating their exploits next term, but another top four finish is very possible, with the Italian coach set to be handed plenty of transfer funds to strengthen this year.
The top-flight victors will proudly and deservedly rub shoulders with the likes of respective Spanish and German giants Real Madrid and Bayern Munich next season in the Champions League, but don’t be shocked to see them enter Europe’s elite competition the following campaign too via another top four position.
Repeat of 2016 heroics?
Ranieri’s side may look different to the one that recently achieved one of the greatest sporting successes in history next season, with some key members potentially set to be lured away, but the triumphant Foxes will have nothing to fear.
Odds of 28/1 can be taken up on the champions retaining their crown in the 2016/17 campaign, which would see them join only Man Utd and Chelsea in having done so in the Premier League era.
The current champions will face arguably an even tougher task of claiming back-to-back titles, though if they keep hold of their prized assets and add further talent around the likes of Vardy and Mahrez, as proved this term, anything is possible.
Speaking about the prospect of seeing his stars depart, Ranieri said: “My phone will ring this summer but I will say: ‘Do you have enough money to buy my players?’ I would like to maintain all of them.
“But if one of my players says to me, ‘I want to go there’, I try to keep him. If you go away you don’t know what happens, here you are the king.”
Can the Foxes conquer Europe?
Premier League success will not only bring with it an abundance of financial rewards, but a maiden Champions League campaign is also deservedly awaiting the Foxes next term.
Going straight into the main draw without the hassle of the qualifying rounds, Leicester could find themselves among the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and Madrid’s big guns and, after clinching domestic glory, they are 100/1 to conquer Europe.
Whether the Champions League will ultimate become a continental distraction to their domestic duties next season, or a brand new frontier ready to be mastered remains unclear, but in light of such previously inconceivable success, rule Leicester out for European dominance at your peril.
From hero to zero? Relegation odds an alarming alternative
At the other end of proceedings, what if Leicester go from one extreme to the next? They battled from being narrow relegation survivors to Premier League champions in the space of 12 months, so they are 20/1 to go down to the Championship next season.
Ranieri has already warned his players that they face an entirely different challenge next term with so many games in various competitions, though a drop down divisions doesn’t seem likely for such a talented roster, even if it loses key members.
“The foundations are solid, but the Champions League is very hard,” said the 64-year-old. “It burns a lot of mental energy. It is not easy to play FA Cup and Charity Shield [as well].”
Though he still can’t resist dreaming of further glory, with relegation obviously far from his mind. “My career is fantastic,” he added. “But I want to achieve a little more if it is possible.”