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Did Brendan Rodgers need to rush into Leicester City?

Sunday 3rd March 2019
Brendan Rodgers must prove that leaving Celtic for Leicester is progress
Brendan Rodgers must prove that leaving Celtic for Leicester is progress

Brendan Rodgers made a name for himself as a top manager in the modern game. His success at Swansea City earned a deserved move to Liverpool in 2012.  After three seasons in which the club made significant progress but narrowly missed out on the title in 2014, Jurgen Klopp was brought in to take the club further. Rodgers moved to the club he supported as a boy, Celtic in the Scottish Premier League.

Klopp is yet to add any silverware to the Anfield trophy cabinet despite reaching a couple of finals in Rodgers' wake. Winning the Premier League title this season ought to vindicate the decision to change managers but that is anything but a done deal. Meanwhile, winning trophies is exactly what Rodgers has been doing in Glasgow.

Of course, it could be argued that just about any manager worth his salt, not the least Jurgen Klopp, should walk into Celtic and emerge with a treble every season. With Rangers only just recovering from administration, that's been the landscape. The club holds a distinct advantage over other SPL sides courtesy its financial muscle and experience in the division. Yet, there is no denying the fact that the Northern Irishman was heading in the right direction at Anfield. He could have taken Liverpool further if he was allowed to continue.

Klopp spent handsomely to revamp the squad. Why couldn't Rodgers do the same with similar backing?. Whatever the case, the former Celtic manager abruptly took over the reins at Leicester City this week following Claude Puel's dismissal.

The question is why he chose to leave Celtic under the current circumstances. The Bhoys are on course to win their third successive domestic treble. It's an achievement that would have immortalised Rodgers in the annals of Scottish football. He was on the brink of making history. All he had to do was wait three more months.

It's been suggested that his disagreements with the board over transfer issues made life difficult for the 46-year-old. What manager not named Pep Guardiola exists at the top level who has everything his way? Assuming he was discontented with the situation, that isn't sufficient reason to abandon ship in the middle of the sea when he was so close to the treasure island.

Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho in December. The lack of a suitable manager in the market led to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment in what remains a caretaker role. Leicester City could have done the same, arranging to bring Rodgers on board in June. All he had to do was ask the club hierarchy to wait another three months while he completed the job at Celtic Park. He could have said his goodbyes on a high note.

One can understand abandoning Celtic when a club like Manchester United or any of the top six sides in the Premier League come calling. Add Real Madrid and Barcelona to the list. But, with all due respect, Leicester?

At any of those clubs, a huge opportunity exists to win trophies and solidify your place as a top-class manager. Leicester's immediate goal is to gatecrash the top six. Winning the Premier League or either European tournament is very unlikely in the near future.

It can happen in the long term but will Rodgers even be at the club by then? Or does he want to use Leicester as a stepping stone towards a top-six side? Deserting the Foxes when a more well-heeled club rings him up will alienate another fanbase. Celtic supporters displayed a banner during the game against Hearts that stated Rodgers rejected immortality for mediocrity.

The bottom line is the former Swansea gaffer could have soothed all sides by making the move at the right time. Dropping Celtic for a Leicester City team that requires a lot of work in order to challenge the top six is not the best decision.

But it's one we must respect. Rodgers must get down to business and prove to all that he still has what it takes, that he can build a team that can compete against the big guns in the biggest league in the world.

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Emmanuel Odey

Emmanuel is a freelance football journalist who lives and breathes the round leather game. He is a contributor on several platforms. You can follow him on Twitter for more.


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