Who on earth leaves the Premier League champions two months after winning the title? Answer: The best player.
When Cristiano Ronaldo was convinced to stay in Manchester for one final season before making his dream move to Real Madrid, there was almost a resignation throughout the entire campaign that no matter how well United played or what they won, it was to be his swansong for the Red Devils.
People knew Real Madrid wanted Ronaldo. People knew Ronaldo wanted Real Madrid. It was inevitable.
Arguably, even with Manchester United as Premier League champions, the Old Trafford side were seen as merely a stepping stone for Ronaldo’s career progress. Moving to Real Madrid was a step up for the Portuguese star.
A step up in terms of the size, stature, history, success and worldwide fan base of the club.
I say ‘arguably’ as I am writing this knowing that as a United fan myself, it is hard to offer any tangible facts that any club around the world is bigger than we are – however the proof lies in the pudding that Madrid time and time again sign our better players, yet how often have we been able to coax away one of theirs? (This being one of a number of reasons as to why they are bigger).
In today’s reality, now champions what are the chances they this title winning squad will remain intact for the beginning of the 2016/17 season?
With the likes of Riyad Mahrez winning player of the year and both N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy nominated – as well as making the Premier League team of the season alongside club captain Wes Morgan; you could be forgiven for thinking that these players, even with a title winning medal, could head for pastures new with Leicester being their own stepping stone.
Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri has made it clear that anybody who wants to leave is free to do is; and all the while the likes of Mahrez and Kante have been non committal in the face of interest from bigger clubs, making it seem that big money moves are on the horizon.
Of course there is some loyalty in football (just ask Paul Scholes); and the passion to stay and fight to retain the title could be appealing to this squad of underdogs.
Yet what seems a more likely option is that some of these players will strike while the iron is hot and grab that multi-million pounds move to an elite club while it is there; as in 12 months if Leicester find themselves sitting tenth in the league, the chance may well have passed.
Strangely, despite Leicester performing remarkably well this campaign, most experts and fans alike expect it to be a one season thing. In a way like Blackburn in 1995 who eventually sold all of their best players within two seasons of winning the title and were relegated by 1999.
Perhaps Leicester could go on to be a dominant Premier League club for years to come if they managed to keep their squad together; perform well in the Champions League and spend that extra revenue wisely; but most likely, the answer the original question who on earth leaves the Premier League champions? The best players.