Date:Thursday April 27 2006
Gary Silke, in his invariably interesting Leicester Mercury/Blue Army column, laments the fact that 'vultures' as he calls them are circling around our best players.
Patrick Kisnorbo is a known target and he mentions Matty Fryatt as another who may be interesting Birmingham manager Steve Bruce.
Well we should give thanks. Unusually in recent years, Connolly at £3m was an exception, we've actually got some assets that are worth looking at.
Because they are good and still improving they may not all be around to escort us into the Premiership - realistically we're not sure we're even heading there anyway. But without assets to sell we'd have no chance of even challenging for the top flight and probably even less of surviving financially to even try.
The trick for Leicester is to 'produce' more than we are are forced to sell.
That is not just through the Academy, which does at last seem to be yielding some fruit, but also in the other young players purchased and developed, such as Kisnorbo, Fryatt and Hume.
People mention older, more experienced players, but the problem with those is that, no only are they invariably heading downhill and likely to be increasingly prone to injury, but they have no appreciating asset value.
People casting their eyes over our players are no worse as vultures than we are if we go looking at people like McAuley at Lincoln or Fryatt when he plied his tade at Walsall.
It is like the food chain really. Everyone preys on those below their own level.
As in any selling, the secret is to buy at the bottom and sell at the top (as City did with Connolly) and to have immediate replacements in mind to fill in any gaps.
If Leicester get away with selling only one of their better players that will be excellent.
But who on our staff can truly be considered so exceptional as to be irreplaceable?
What would be unacceptable would be selling an asset on at below its market value and without due provision for potential and, even worse, without earmarking likely replacements.
Kisnorbo, for instance, looks the sort of centre-back who could give years of sterling service at any level because he has that great combination of assets, speed and heart.
Leicester conceded 17 goals in their last 15 Championship matches under Kelly compared with 22 in the 15 before, a measureable improvement.
Sometimes, even when playing away, the opposition was restricted to very few shots on goal and much of that was down to the resilience, speed, commitment and concentration of City's central defenders.
But Kisnorbo is replaceable. Despite his mobility our defence is still vulnerable to set pieces and our centre-backs still don't score many goals.
That is no more Kisnorbo's fault than anyone else's but both weaknesses need to be rectified or at least improved on.
In some teams the lack of goals from defenders might not matter much but we know we'll need 20 more goals per season to mount a play-offs challenge and if four or five could come from a new central defender that would mean only another 15 to be found from wings, from left back and from midfield.
And, any sale of an asset or two might just give us the chance to add that further 15 goals to our potential. Making that happen will be a whole new test for our emerging manager.
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