Leicester City opinion: Would Rafael Benitez be a good choice for the Foxes?
According to Leicestershire Live, Leicester City have lined up Rafael Benitez and Brendan Rodgers as potential candidates to take charge at the helm of affairs following the sacking of Claude Puel in the wake of the Foxes’ 4-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Puel has always been under the cosh after a lacklustre start to the season, with the Frenchman coming under criticism for the team’s inconsistent performances. The 4-1 humiliation was enough for the club hierarchy to pull the trigger on the former Southampton boss.
Puel has left the Foxes languishing at 12th place in the standings, which is clearly not good enough for a club of Leicester’s ambitions.
Puel took over the reins from Craig Shakespeare last season and steered the Foxes to safety, securing a respectable 9th-place finish. However, he failed to build on the positives from the previous campaign and didn’t do enough to inspire the players this term, with the Foxes having a miserable home record to go with their poor goalscoring form.
Puel’s relationship with the players, particularly fan-favourite Jamie Vardy, seems to have deteriorated as the season went along and it was always going to be a matter of time before he was sacked.
In all honesty, the decision to sack Claude Puel might be a bit harsh but it is definitely the right one. He didn’t manage to get the best out of players with his philosophy of slow build-up play.
Jamie Vardy has been pivotal to Leicester’s recent rise in the Premier League with his prolific goalscoring form but Puel’s style of play rendered him virtually useless. Vardy is known for his subtle movement and ability to run in behind the opposition’s backline with his pace.
However, Leicester, under the stewardship of Puel, just didn’t move the ball quickly enough in the midfield to bring Vardy into play.
Another factor that might have gone against Puel is his dealings in the transfer market. While summer recruit James Maddison has been one of the breakout stars of the Premier League, the likes of Rachid Ghezzal, Caglar Soyuncu and Ricardo Pereira have been far too inconsistent to rely upon.
Puel’s team selection raised a few eyebrows as well, with the Frenchman completely doing away with players like Adrien Silva, Vicente Iborra and Shinji Okazaki due to no apparent reason.
Well, now that Leicester have pulled the trigger on Puel, they need to weigh up their options for the vacancy and both the aforementioned managers – Rafael Benitez and Brendan Rodgers are definitely held in very high regard at Newcastle and Celtic respectively.
While Rodgers has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at Parkhead, Benitez has managed to keep Newcastle alive in the Premier League despite workinfn under severe financial constraints.
However, Benitez, with his experience and understanding of the game, would be the ideal option for the job at Leicester City. The former Liverpool manager has won several accolades over the course of his illustrious managerial career and he can certainly take Leicester to the pinnacle of success if he is provided with the right kind of backing in the transfer window.
Moreover, he is a manager who adopts a safety-first approach, often using a counter-attacking style to keep things tight at the back and hit the opposition on the break.
Leicester have the blistering pace of Ricardo Pereira down the flanks and the creativity of James Maddison and Harvey Barnes in the final third, all of whom can move the ball around quickly.
Furthermore, Benitez’s philosophy will also bring the best out of Vardy and go a long way in solving Leicester’s goalscoring woes.
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Leicester need to rebuild after the dismissal of Puel and Benitez can certainly help them in that phase with his experience and charisma. They need consolidation to relive their Premier League success and there is no one better than Rafael Benitez for that purpose.