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Is Claude Puel the solution to end the woes of Leicester City?

Monday 30th October 2017
Claude Puel is the latest manager at Leicester City, but his arrival was met with mixed feelings by the club's fans. Can the Frenchman help reinstil success at the King Power?
Claude Puel is vastly experienced in managing, having coached teams like Monaco, Lyon – whom he led to the Champions League semi-finals in 2010 – Nice and more recently Southampton. His time at St Mary's last season is probably what makes him familiar among the Premier League viewers, but his feats there are underrated by many.

He led Southampton to their first EFL Cup final since 2003, where they were defeated 3-2 by Manchester United in the final. Puel's men dominated for the better part of the game till Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a late winner.

Though they were not in strong contention in the Premier League, they were also not in danger of falling to the Championship as they finished in 8th place. For a side that had a better end result under Ronald Koeman the season before -  6th place – that was considered a decline.

Puel was heavily criticized for his defensive tactics at Southampton, however, those same tactics could prove to be Leicester saving grace. The Foxes have two no-nonsense style defenders in Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire, with the latter remarkable with the ball at his feet – a major starting point.

Before Craig Shakespeare got his walking papers, he signed Vicente Iborra, one of the best defenders in the La Liga, from Sevilla.

Puel signed Manolo Gabbiadini for Southampton in January – a striker acclaimed for his strong finishing skills. These skills can be easily replicated by both Islam Slimani and Jamie Vardy at his new side.

Even when Claudio Ranieri led Leicester to their stunning title win, they often failed in the ball possession department, but their strong defence helped to bail them out. N'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater – two of the lead role of their success story – have since departed their Leicester midfield.

Since then, Ranieri and Shakespeare have both tried to no avail to achieve that same degree of success and have subsequently watched the club go on a decline in the Premier League. Looking to the bright side, Puel has experience managing struggling clubs.

At Lyon, he took over the reins of a club that had run through four managers in four years before his appointment in 2008. In 2010, two years after his arrival, he had guided them to a Champions League semi-final victory over European giants Real Madrid. At Nice, he groomed the squad to become a genuine contender for the top spots in Ligue 1.

Claude Puel now becomes the boss at a club which still has a high expectation of success despite its current struggles. His top priority will be pushing the Foxes to the top of the Premier League table, but fans will also want him to target the Carabao Cup.
Although asking for a repeat their remarkable run in the Champions  League last season may be asking too much, Puel's track record suggests he is the right man to restore the Foxes to their former glory.

The Frenchman may not be a fan favourite for the Leicester job, his record indicates he can be what Leicester needs to rise to the top of the league.
Adebayo Temitope

Temitope, an ardent soccer fan. I may be based in Lagos but I watch as much European football as I can. I've been writing about football for several years, before I joined IRIAW you may have seen my work on The Football Weeks. I'm also a keen music fan


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