REUTERS - Leicester City should be able to hold on to its key players as they prepare for the upcoming season without European football, rather than just selling them off, manager Craig Shakespeare has said.
Reigning Premier League champions Leicester were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid last week and are currently 15th in the Premier League ahead of Wednesday’s trip to seventh-placed Arsenal.
With striker Jamie Vardy and winger Riyadh Mahrez, midfielder Danny Drinkwater and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel tied down with long-term contracts, Shakespeare believes he has no reason to worry about key players leaving at the end of the campaign.
“We have said before we don’t want to be a selling club,” Shakespeare told reporters on Monday.
”All the players are happy here. They are a very unique group. We have created something here which is quite special, so they have said they are quite happy.
“I have no problems with players being ambitious, but they are at a good club here and get looked after well.”
Shakespeare, who took charge from Claudio Ranieri in February for the rest of the season, said a decision is yet to be made on his future but the board has involved him in its pre-season and recruitment plans for the next campaign.
“I am in charge of pre-season. I have had one meeting about recruitment, which I really enjoyed,” he added.
“We need to make sure we get enough points to stay in the league first, and the time will come to sit down.”
Shakespeare has led Leicester to five league victories in their last seven games, moving the club six points clear of the relegation zone.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson