The Premier League’s elite have been told to forget about raiding Leicester this summer for Harry Maguire and fellow England defender Ben Chilwell.
Centre-half Maguire has been on Manchester United ’s shopping-list since Jose Mourinho’s time as manager after shining in the World Cup finals while, across town, champions Manchester City ‘s boss Pep Guardiola is a long-term admirer of full-back Chilwell. The 22-year-old has sent his valuation racing towards £40million by forcing his way into Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions side.
The Foxes are adamant they will hang onto their key men and insist any Big Six sides licking their lips can forget poaching the former champions’ best players in the next window.
Midfielder James Maddison is another who is sure to attract bids after an impressive debut season following a move from Championship Norwich, with Tottenham glancing envious eyes on the England Under-21 ace.
But Leicester owner Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha and new manager Brendan Rodgers are adamant they won’t flinch if the big guns come calling for players who are tied down to long-term deals.
The Foxes owner, better known as ‘Top’, is ready to fend off any unwanted moves and has genuine financial muscle. He wants to build shock 2015-16 champions Leicester into a real force and Rodgers has had assurances the days of them being a selling club are long gone.
‘Top’ wants to build on the legacy of his father Vichai, who was killed along with four others in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium after a match in October.
The late owner stood his ground to fend off Arsenal offers for striker Jamie Vardy and dug his heels in through two transfer windows to keep Riyad Mahrez at the club before finally accepting a club record £60m offer from Manchester City.
Now his son is ready to do the same and Rodgers heads into the summer knowing his bosses are desperate for a return to European football and see a challenge to break back into the top six as a realistic one.
That’s why they raided Scottish champions Celtic for the former Liverpool manager, selling him the project based around plans for a magnificent new £80m training complex.
Rodgers is relaxed and accepts other clubs will show interest in his players, saying: “They may well do. But it doesn’t worry me. It happens.
“With Khun Top, it is all pretty straightforward. It allows me to work in the club how I would want to and that was obviously very, very important