Leicester City have appointed former Chelsea, Monaco, Juventus and AS Roma manager Claudio Ranieri as their new first team manager.
Ranieri, 63, previously managed in the Premier League with Chelsea for four years from 2000-04 and the Italian has managed in the UEFA Champions League in spells with huge clubs in Spain, Italy and France as well as managing the Greek national team for a short spell in 2014.
[ MORE: Scandals led to Pearson’s firing ]
Leicester City’s owners from Thailand flew Ranieri in to the clubs preseason base in Austria on Monday and said they were delighted “to have attracted one of the world’s elite managers” and that it “speaks volumes for the progress Leicester City has made in recent years.” I’m not sure too many people would agree that Ranieri is one of the “world’s elite managers” but it is certainly a step up for Leicester.
Following the firing of Nigel Pearson in June, Leicester’s owners had come under plenty of pressure to replace the eccentric English manager with a top quality coach and Ranieri’s experience at massive clubs speaks for itself.
However, the last trophy Ranieri won was the Ligue 2 title with Monaco in 2013 and he failed to win any silverware during his time in charge at Chelsea despite heavy investment from Roman Abramovich which led to the man known as “the Tinkerman” — due to his constant rotation of the starting lineup — being fired.
Ranieri is nonetheless delighted to be arriving back in England.
“I’m so glad to be here in a Club with such a great tradition as Leicester City. I have worked at many great clubs, in many top leagues, but since I left Chelsea I have dreamt of another chance to work in the best league in the world again,” Ranieri said. “I wish to thank the owner, his son and all the executives of the Club for the opportunity they are giving me. Now I’ve only one way for returning their trust: squeeze all my energies to getting the best results for the team.”
Leicester finished in 14th place last season after Pearson led the Foxes to a dramatic recovery with seven wins from their last nine matches which dragged them off the bottom of the Premier League table and saw them stave off relegation. Plenty of off-the-field problems were said to be crucial in Pearson’s dismissal in June, as last season he was fined for verbally abusing one of Leicester’s fans, pinned an opposition player down to the ground in his technical area and then lost it with a journalist, calling him an “ostrich.” Plus his son, James, was fired by the club last month after he and three other young Leicester players were involved in a “racist” sex video filmed on a club trip to the owners homeland of Thailand.
Due to his vast connections and time spent at top clubs across Europe, Ranieri will no doubt attract plenty of big-name players to the King Power Stadium and if Leicester’s owners intend to pump more money into the Midlands club then he is capable of turning them into a top 10 team, with his rigid defensive approach winning plenty of plaudits in the past.
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.