Premier League season preview: Leicester City - predicted finish 19th

Will Leicester establish themselves in the Premier League? Photo: PA

Predicted finish: 19th

Signings so far:

Ins: Jack Barmby and Louis Rowley (Manchester United) Free, Matthew Upson (Brighton and Hove Albion) Free, Ben Hamer (Charlton Athletic) Free, Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) Free, Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton & Hove Albion) Undisclosed

Outs: Lloyd Dyer (Watford), George Taft (Burton Albion), Zak Whitbread (Derby County), Neil Danns (Bolton Wanderers), Ben Frempah (Ross County), Paul Gallagher (Preston North End, Loan)

New signings - the verdict:

Last season's runaway Championship winners have recruited former England international Matthew Upson, a 35 year-old long past his Premier League sell by date, and Marc Albrighton, an ex-England under-21 international who has never performed consistently at the highest level. Teenagers Jack Barmby and Louis Rowley, both signed from Manchester United, may have promising futures, but lack enough senior experience to make an immediate impact. There will be enormous pressure on Argentine striker Leonardo Ulloa, a top flight rookie, to justify his £8m price tag, particularly if David Nugent and Jamie Vardy fail to deliver on the biggest stage.

Upson
Does Matthew Upson still have the legs for top flight football? Credit: PA

One to watch: Leonardo Ulloa

Ulloa's double for Brighton in April 2014 inflicted newly-promoted Leicester's first league defeat in 21 matches. When the Argentine striker rounded Kasper Schmeichel to make it 3-0, and later added a fourth from Kazenga Lualua's cross, Nigel Pearson was already working out how to fit him into Leicester's Premier League system. Can he really afford to leave the club's record signing on the bench in favour of Nugent and Vardy? The 28 year-old posted an impressive 42 goals in Spain's second tier with Almeria before joining Brighton, but crucially this figure dried up to single figures when Almeria were promoted to La Liga.

Ulloa
Ulloa must justify his £8m price tag with a healthy goal tally. Credit: PA

Manager: Nigel Pearson

Three caretaker matches in charge of Newcastle aside, Nigel Pearson enters the Premier League with no experience of top-flight management. The shoddy manner in which he was forced out of Leicester by Milan Mandaric in 2008 – before returning three years later – will continue to motivate him, as Leicester aim to consolidate their status as a top flight club for the first time since 2003. The 50 year-old certainly isn't daunted by the prospect of facing England's strongest teams, claiming last month: "There is an air of confidence among the players that they believe they have the ability to perform [in the Premier League]. I fully agree." Cardiff's relegation last season provided further evidence that winning the Championship doesn't guarantee a smooth transition into the top flight. Leicester's very own billionaire Thai owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, must resist pressing the panic button if the Foxes struggle early on.

Your Predictions:

Gfmmij9b_normal

@itvfootball I don't think they'll be in the Premier League by the time they finish...

Ks5pu9s2_normal

@itvfootball 16th. We will surprise those who have no clue about football.

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@itvfootball 16th if I had to pick one. The squad has the talent to surprise a lot of people.