Leicester City have announced Brendan Rodgers as the club’s new manager after Celtic gave the Northern Irishman permission to speak to the Premier League club.
The Foxes parted company with Claude Puel on Sunday morning after their 4-1 home defeat to Cardiff City which summed up the Frenchman’s torrid spell with Leicester.
Shortly after Puel’s departure was made, speculation started over who would replace him, with Celtic reluctantly giving Rodgers permission to talk to Leicester.
And now the Foxes have confirmed Rodgers as their new manager, with the former Liverpool boss leaving Celtic after a very successful spell in Scotland.
But who will benefit from Rodgers’ arrival? And who will feel the negative effects of the appointment?
Here are six winners and three losers as Leicester confirm their new manager.
Winner: Brendan Rodgers
Rodgers was sacked by Liverpool in October 2015. A few months later he was hired by Celtic, where he has won plenty of silverware but received criticism for failing to take the club into the latter stages of a European competition.
The former Swansea City manager returns to England for the first time since departing Liverpool, and it looks like he has timed it well. Rodgers was never going to get another job at top-six club, but he is set to inherit one of the best squads outside of the top six.
Rodgers leaves Celtic with a somewhat ambiguous reputation. His success in Scotland was impressive, but expected. It remains unclear whether his title push with Liverpool in 2013/14 was down to his approach or the brilliance of Luis Suarez and others, so it’s difficult to judge how he will do back in the Premier League.
Of course, Rodgers thrived at Swansea, which earned him a move to Anfield. If he can get the best out of the current Leicester squad, he will do his reputation no harm.
Winner: Jamie Vardy
Since last month, Rodgers has been attempting to mould loan signing Oliver Burke into a striker at Celtic. The results have been mixed with Burke shining domestically but struggling in Europe, just like Celtic as a whole.
Rodgers will be pleased to have Jamie Vardy, a recognised centre-forward, at his disposal when he gets started Leicester. As a result, Vardy is likely to play a key role, particularly with Rodgers favouring the 4-2-3-1 formation that relies on a dedicated striker leading the line.
That’s good news for Vardy, who endured a sometimes fractious relationship with Puel. To the amazement of the supporters, Vardy was dropped to the bench in the recent 3-1 defeat at Tottenham, eventually coming on only to miss a penalty with his first touch.
There should be no such disruption to his playing time under Rodgers, who will recognise the importance of a player who has scored a quarter of Leicester’s league goals so far this season.
Loser: Nampalys Mendy
Nampalys Mendy spent last season on loan at Nice but has returned to the first-team fold at Leicester this term with Puel using his countryman 23 times in the Premier League.
That’s likely to change under Rodgers, who will surely utilise the potential of a young, dynamic central midfield partnership made up of Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans – the duo impressed against Spurs earlier this month despite losing at Wembley.
Mendy was injured in the warm-up before the Tottenham defeat and was replaced in the starting line-up by Ndidi. Puel’s initial omission of both Ndidi and Vardy for a big game was indicative of the decision-making that turned so many Leicester fans against him.
With that in mind, Rodgers will immediately get the supporters on board by picking Ndidi and Tielemans ahead of Mendy from the start.
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Celtic are eight points clear of Rangers in the SPL title race with six games remaining. Even with Rodgers now leaving, it would take a capitulation for the champions to concede their crown at this late stage.
That said, the club could have done without the interruption of losing their manger during the run-in. On top of that, Celtic remain in the Scottish Cup, where they could face Rangers in the semi-final or final if they overcome Hibernian in the quarter-finals.
It’s difficult to imagine how Rodgers’ exit will affect the team in the short-term or the long run. What is clear, however, is that uncertainty will reign until a new permanent appointment is made – and that will inevitably influence results one way or another.
As mentioned above, Celtic shouldn’t have too many problems getting over the line in terms of the title race. But Rodgers’ absence will be a boost to Rangers in next month’s final Old Firm clash of the SPL campaign.
It will also give Steven Gerrard’s side confidence if the pair are drawn against each other in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, providing they both make it that far. Rangers won the last derby and will be eager for a repeat of that on at least one more occasion this term.
Gerrard will lead Rangers into the 2019/20 campaign with a sense of familiarity and continuity in the dugout, while Celtic face a more uncertain future with questions around who will be in charge next season.
Winners: Young wingers
Since returning from a loan spell with West Brom in the Championship, Harvey Barnes has made five Premier League appearances but failed to find net. Meanwhile, Demarai Gray has scored just three goals in 24 league games this season.
Those outputs could put Barnes and Gray at risk of being dropped. Thankfully for the duo, Rodgers almost always sets up his teams in a 4-2-3-1 formation, meaning Leicester will continue to be reliant on young wingers to provide a threat from the flanks.
Barnes, especially, has been getting into promising goal scoring positions of late. A confident boost from the arrival of a new manager may be exactly what the 21-year-old, and Leicester’s other young attacking players, needs to make more of an impact.
Rodgers will be looking to get the best out of the likes of James Maddison, too, and will be able to set up with a youthful, energetic attack spearheaded by the experience of Vardy.
Losers: The older heads
If the young players are set to prosper from Rodgers’ appointment, the opposite could be in store for the older heads in the squad.
Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel aside, the team that won the title in 2015/16 is all but gone, with the majority of those players either having left the club – the likes of N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez and Robert Huth – or finding themselves out of favour in recent months.
Captain Wes Morgan is out of contract in the summer and could leave. Full-backs Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs are very much second-choice to Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell. And Shinji Okazaki hasn’t scored a single Premier League goal this season.
A change of furniture was already taking place during the old regime, but Rodgers is likely to see it through to an emotional conclusion – the title winners will be forever remembered as club icons.
Winner: Neil Lennon
Shortly after the news of Rodgers’ departure was announced, Celtic revealed former boss Neil Lennon would be returning to Glasgow on an interim basisd until the end of the season.
Lennon has been out of work since January after leaving Hibernian under a cloud with accusations of an exchange with fellow club employees. He will certainly feel fortunate to return to the club where he won multiple honours as a player and a manager.
And who knows? Perhaps Celtic will consider appointing the 47-year-old on a full-time basis if he leads the club to a domestic double.
Winner: Kolo Toure
The announcement of Rodgers as Leicester’s new manager was accompanied by a list of coaches who would be joining the former Celtic boss at the King Power Stadium.
Among the list of three was former Arsenal and Liverpool defender Kolo Toure, who makes his return to English football as one of Leicester’s new first team coaches.
The centre-back has become somewhat of a meme over the past few years, as well as the subject of a catchy song by Manchester City fans, but nothing should be taking away from his standing at the top of his game.
Toure was a member of Arsenal’s 2003/04 Invincibles side, and will bring untold experience to a Leicester team looking for the right kind of inspiration.