Ben Chilwell has been heavily linked with a move away from Leicester City this summer.
Both Chelsea and Manchester City are reportedly interested, with Frank Lampard’s men seemingly the most likely to add the left-back to their ranks.
However, according to the Mirror, the Foxes want a fee in excess of the £80 million paid by Manchester United to sign Harry Maguire to let Chilwell go.
Brendan Rodgers’ men have no need to sell, so they are asking for a world-record fee.
Of course, Ben Chilwell is a fantastic player. He is undoubtedly England’s best left-back and one of the best in the league.
But much like it was for Maguire, £80 million is an extortionate amount of money.
If Leicester were to receive an offer of £70m+ they should definitely take it, perhaps even £60m+.
Here is why.
A gap-filled squad
Leicester finished fifth in the Premier League in 2019/20.
On paper, this is a fantastic achievement for a side who, miraculous 2016 title victory aside, are not usually found in European competition.
Yet this is has proved to be a massive disappointment for the Foxes.
The reason being that they were seemingly certain to finish in the top four for the majority of the season. The fact that they failed to do so after a dramatic collapse is a big blow to the side.
This season proved two things.
They have one of the best first-choice starting XI’s in the league, as shown by their start to the season.
Yet the climax to their season was evidence that the squad simply is not good enough.
They failed due to key men, like Chilwell, as well as Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Wilfred Ndidi and Caglar Soyuncu missing large portions of the run-in.
When even one member of their first-choice XI is missing, the team looks considerably weaker.
Title winners Wes Morgan, Christian Fuchs and Marc Albrighton are no longer good enough to be first-choice deputy players at a team hoping for Champions League football.
Dennis Praet, Ayoze Perez and Demarai Gray flatter to deceive at the best of times.
The squad needs surgery. The club needs money to perform it.
So selling a good player at a fee well above market value makes sense.
It was seen with Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool – what may look like a negative can prove to be a positive in hindsight.
£80 million pounds to spend would go a long way in ensuring that Leicester are competing for Champions League football again next season.
What could they get for £80 million?
Of course, the first position that would need filling is left-back.
Chilwell may have world-class potential, but he is not there yet. They could sell him and sign a player with similar potential for a fraction of what they sell the Englishman for.
The likes of Pervis Estupinan and Konstantinos Tsimikas outperformed Chilwell last term and could be available for less than £25 million.
Then there are names like Jamal Lewis and Matt Targett, who are not yet as good as Chilwell but could be very soon.
Finally, players like Sergio Reguillon and Ryan Sessegnon will not be starters at their club next season, so could possibly be poached.
Selling Chilwell for around £70 million and signing a replacement of similar quality for less than £30 million is a no-brainer.
Then there are other areas of the squad that need improving.
A good young centre-back would be a great addition, with Wes Morgan, as mentioned, no longer good enough to provide cover to Soyuncu and Jonny Evans.
They could try to get Fikayo Tomori, Kurt Zouma or Andreas Christensen out of Chelsea for less than £25 million. Perhaps someone like Jean-Clair Todibo, Ozan Kabak or Duje Caleta-Car for even less than that.
Hamza Choudhury is a fine cover in the 6. Yet Dennis Praet has not worked out, so they should look into selling him to raise more funds.
They really need at least two central midfielders to compete with James Maddison and Youri Tielemans.
Philip Billing, Eberechi Eze, Joan Jordan and Lorenzo Pellegrini are all worth a look.
Better again would be someone who can play off the wing and cover the centre.
Norwich duo Emiliano Buendia and Todd Cantwell spring to mind, as does David Brooks.
Buendia, in particular, is easily good enough to start on the right-wing. This is the one hole in Leicester’s starting XI. He also does enough defensively to drop back to midfield if needs be.
Finally, Jamie Vardy is now 33 but Leicester should get away with one more season with him as the starting striker with Kelechi Iheanacho in support.
Verdict: Selling Chilwell makes sense
For £80 million pounds, Leicester could probably sign Tsimikas, Caleta-Car, Eze and Buendia.
Despite Chilwell’s quality, this business would improve their squad a considerable amount.
In Tsimikas, Leicester would still have a quality left-back for the next six years at least.
They could use the rest of the money to plug some gaps in the squad.
It would merely mean weakening one area of the squad slightly in order to improve the rest greatly.
If Leicester use the money wisely, they could possibly evolve into an English superpower in the coming years.
Brendan Rodgers just needs to look at the bigger picture.