How do you possibly compare Leicester’s last two seasons? Their league finishes have been 14th, 1st, 12th. Spot the anomaly. They simply couldn’t replicate their title winning form and Ranieri paid for it. By the end of the season they finished roughly where they should, mid-table. Key men Vardy and Mahrez only turned up for the latter stages of the season and their defence showed their age. Realistically it’s not a fall from grace and the Foxes can be hugely proud of their European exploits, despite a poor run in the domestic cups.
Vardy and Mahrez actually still managed double figures each in all competitions but their Premier League outputs were roughly a half and a third of the year before respectively.
Ranieri left on 23 February, they then won five games in a row. They actually matched their longest winning run from 2015-16 and picked up 23 under Shakespeare, two more than Ranieri in half the games.
Shakespeare has earned his shot but his recruitment must be much better than their previous summer. Maguire will inject some youth into an ageing defence and Iborra is somewhat of a coup but that does pack their central midfield area with Mendy, Ndidi, Drinkwater, King and Amarty.
In terms of aims they should be looking to improve upon 12th, albeit not drastically. 8-11th would be a good season, especially if they can better in the cups without the distraction of Europe.
Much depends on who leaves. Mahrez and Gray look set to go, which would leave them short on the left side (even if Albrighton and Musa could play there). They may consider Mirallas if he is deemed surplus to requirements under Koeman or the Baggies’ most exciting player Matt Phillips.
They’ve been linked with Iheanacho but I don’t think they really need another striker. Defence should be paramount and moves for both Gibson and Johnny Evans would arguably help improve their current situation, providing a good mix of youth and experience.