Football Manager 2018: Leicester City guide, player ratings & tactics

It’s easy to forget that Leicester won the Premier League just two years ago. Can you get them back to the top of the table on FM 18?

Alastair Pusinelli by Alastair Pusinelli

Leicester picked up the biggest shock league victory this century when they surprised us all by winning the Premier League title in 2016. They may have lost some talented players since, but they still managed to compete in the Champions League last season, going through to the quarterfinals until being knocked out by Atletico Madrid.

Since their PL triumph, they have flirted with the relegation zone, and with momentum of their victory fading, time is running out for them to capitalise on that success. On Football Manager 2018 can you propel the club back towards the European places and perhaps challenge for silverware once again?

Philosophies

Given their counter-attacking style and that they have only been in in the Premier League for three and half years since getting promoted in 2014, there is no philosophy to abide by at Leicester. You can suggest your own on FM, but to begin with there is no need.

Expectations

After welcoming you to the club, Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha will present the expectations for the season. The default is to finish mid-table in the Premier League, reach the fifth round of the FA Cup and reach the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

If you aim higher, you will receive more cash for your transfer budget. Selecting a mid-table finish will provide an extra £5 million, the FA Cup sixth round will get you £1 million with a goal of the Carabao Cup quarterfinals giving you an extra £700,000. 

Budget

Transfer £24 million

Wage: £1.56m per week (Current spend: £1.48m)

Formation

Leicester have been successful with a simple 4-4-2 system over the past few seasons, but we have adjusted this slightly to ensure all areas of the pitch are covered. A 4-2-4 DM asymmetric should leave no holes on the pitch, whilst still offering an attacking edge.

Kasper Schmeichel is the obvious choice in goal, and in front of him you should have a defence of Danny Simpson, Harry Maguire, Aleksandar Dragovic and Christian Fuchs.

Vicente Iborra is the deep midfielder, and he has Wilfred Ndidi just ahead of him. Riyad Mahrez and Demarai Gray are two dangerous wingers, with Islam Slimani partnering Jamie Vardy in attack. 

On the bench, go for Eldin Jakupovic, Wes Morgan, Ben Chilwell, Andy King, Marc Albrighton, Shinji Okazaki and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Key players

It’s a very talented squad at Leicester these days, with N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater (now both at Chelsea) the only notable absentees since their title win in 2016. 

Adrien Silva – CA 4 star (158), PA 4 star (159)

It may hurt Leicester fans slightly that their best player on Football Manager 2018, wasn’t able to play in the first half of the season. Adrien Silva’s move from Sporting Lisbon to Leicester missed the summer transfer window by just 14 seconds, and as a result he could not register as a Foxes player until the first of January. It’s the same case for you on FM 18, so you will have to do without your main man until then.

Silva’s 158 current ability rating can rise slightly to a potential of 159, the 28-year-old’s best attributes include 18 consistency, 18 professionalism and 17 stamina.

Riyad Mahrez – CA 4 star (149), PA 4 star (156)

In Silva’s absence, the onus at Leicester has fallen on Riyad Mahrez. The right winger has shown a resurgence of form this year, and if you are to climb the PL table on Football Manager, you will need the Algerian firing on all cylinders.

Mahrez’s 149 current ability score consists of 17 flair, 17 first touch and 17 dribbling. At the age of 26, Mahrez can still improve to a 156 potential. 

Jamie Vardy – CA 4 star (149), PA 4 star (155)

Jamie Vardy is Leicester’s main source of goals, netting 16 last season. He did not receive much support from his teammates in attack, and with some new additions in the side, expect him to score more than that for you this season on FM.

The England international has a 149 CA which can still improve to 155, but do bear in mind he is now 30 years old. Striker Vardy offers 17 teamwork, 17 work rate and 16 finishing on the game.

Young talent

Leicester have produced some top talent over the years, with Peter Shilton, Gary Lineker and Emile Heskey all going on to become England internationals. 

Alex Pascanu – CA 2 star (100), PA 2-3 star (120-150)

Yet to feature for the first team, left back Alex Pascanu has been a regular for the Leicester U23 side for the past two seasons. You may have Christian Fuchs and Ben Chilwell in your first team, but when Fuchs leaves the club in a couple of seasons, Pascanu can make the step up to the senior side. The 18-year-old has a 100 current ability rating, with his potential between 120 and 150.

Sim Thandi – CA 1.5 star (83), PA 3-4 star (120-150) 

If Pascanu will step up to cover left back, Sam Thandi could be the answer on the right side of defence. The 17-year-old plays for the U18 side and is a long-term project at the club. Englishman Thandi has an 83 CA and PA between 120 and 150.

Jozsef Keaveny – CA 1 star (65), PA 2.5-3.5 star (120-150) 

There are plenty of strike options at Leicester, and Jozsef Keaveny will be an option in a few years’ time. The Hungarian is just 17 years old, so make sure you nurture his development and you could send him out on loan in the coming seasons. His current ability rating is just 66 but this can rise to a potential between 120 and 150. 

Team Report


Strengths Weaknesses
Work rate Left back depth
Youth prospects Decisions
Aggression Strength
Striker depth First touch
Left wing depth Passing
Right wing depth
Strength
Star goalkeeper (Kasper Schmeichel)
Star centre back (Wes Morgan)
Star midfielder (Vicente Iborra)
Overall depth
Leadership
Transfer budget
Wage budget

Dynamics

Team leaders –  Wes Morgan (C), Kasper Schmeichel, Andy King

Highly influential – Shinji Okazaki, Robert Huth, Danny Simpson, Christian Fuchs, Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Marc Albrighton, Matty James, Adrien Silva, Islam Slimani, Leonardo Ulloa

Dynamics is the big new feature for Football Manager 2018, depicting the dressing room atmosphere at the club. You need to identify the more influential players in your squad, as the impact you have on them will have a knock-on effect on the rest of the side. If the players start to become unhappy, their performances on the pitch will worsen.

Transfer targets

£24 million is a useful amount of cash, and if you sell a couple of players, you can get this to over £30 million. We suggest spending some of this now, and then assessing the situation in January. 

Right back – Mariano (CA 151, PA 152)

Danny Simpson is the only right back in the first team at Leicester, so you need another option. With Simpson only receiving a 137 current ability rating, you may as well bring in a new starter, with Galatasaray’s Mariano your best option. The Brazilian has a 151 CA and could still rise to a 152 PA, with the 31-year-old holding attributes of 17 stamina, 16 consistency and 16 acceleration. 

Alternative options

  • Nelson Semedo – Age 23, Barcelona, Portugal, CA 150, PA 165, Value: £14m, Wage: £62k
  • Aleix Vidal – Age 27, Barcelona, Spain, CA 149, PA 153, Value: £14m, Wage: £79k
  • Mario – Age 26, Villarreal, Spain, CA 147, PA 153, Value: £12m, Wage: £40k
  • Djibril Sidibe – Age 24, Monaco, France, CA 147, PA 154, Value: £18m, Wage: £62k

Players to sell

With a decent sized squad and a couple of former first team players in the youth squad, there are certainly some players you can get rid of at Leicester.

Eldin Jakupovic

He may be your second choice goalkeeper, but you are better off opting for the younger Ben Hamer (CA 125, PA 128) as your back-up to Kasper Schmeichel than Eldin Jakupovic. The 32-year-old Jakupovic has a maxed-out CA of 133, so you could decide to take in £6 million for him and save on wages of £23,000 a week. 

Leonardo Ulloa

With so many strike options at the King Power Stadium, there is no need for Leonardo Ulloa. The Argentine has been sent into the youth squad and is likely to be leaving the club in real life. The 30-year-old has a 130 CA and 137 PA which can get you over £10 million and free up £30,000 a week in your wage budget.

Finances

The finances at Leicester look in good health, but a couple of bad seasons could turn things sour. The overall balance of the squad is on the up, but he club’s profits will turn into a loss at the turn of the year. Selling those fringe players could solve this.

The good news is that tour transfer budget will increase, and you are in line to receive £80 million to spend at the start of the 2018/19 season. 

Return to the top?

It is unlikely that Leicester will ever recreate the title winning campaign of 2015/16, but there is no reason they cannot compete for European places and silverware. Treat your first season as preparation, with a top half finish and a decent cup run your aims. In 12 months’ time you can then look to win one of the cup competitions which would take you into Europe. For Leicester to develop as a club, they need to close the gap between them and the top six.  

Leicester first team squad, player roles and ratings 

Player
Age
Pos
Role
Duty
Role ability
CA/
PA
Starting lineup
Kasper Schmeichel 30 GK Goalkeeper Defend 3.5 star 145/
145
Danny Simpson 30 DR Full-back Automatic 3 star 137/
139
Harry Maguire 24 DCR Ball playing defender Defend 3.5 star 139/
153
Aleksandar Dragovic 26 DCL Central defender/
ball playing defender
Defend 3.5 star 140/
146
Christian Fuchs 31 DL Wing-back Defend 3.5 star 140/
145
Vicente Iborra 29 MCR Ball winning midfielder/
defensive midfielder
Support 3.5 star 145/
150
Wilfred Ndidi 20 MCL Carrilero Support 3 star 132/
<180
Riyad Mahrez 26 AMR Inside forward Support 4 star 149/
156
Demarai Gray 21 AML Winger Attack 3 star 138/
152
Islam Slimani 29 STCR Advanced forward/
target man
Attack/
support
3.5 star 144/
156
Jamie Vardy 30 STCL Defensive forward Support/
defend
4 star 149/
155
Substitutes
Eldin Jakupovic 32 GK Goalkeeper Defend 3 star 133/
133
Wes Morgan 33 D (C) Central defender Stopper 3.5 star 138/
142
Ben Chilwell 20 D (LC)
WB (L)
Full-back Attack 3 star 131/
<170
Andy King 28 DM
M (C)
AM (C)
Deep lying playmaker/
carrilero
Support/
defend
3 star 133/
137
Marc Albrighton 27 WB (RL)
M (RL)
AM (RL)
Wide midfielder Automatic/
support
3 star 137/
142
Shinji Okazaki 31 AM (RLC)
ST (C)
Defensive forward Support/
defend
3 star 138/
143
Kelechi Iheanacho 20 ST (C) Advanced forward Attack 3 star 134/
<160
Reserves
Ben Hamer 29 GK Goalkeeper Defend 2.5 star 129/
141
Yohan Benalouane 30 D (RC) Central defender/
defensive centre back
Stopper/
any
3 star 134/
138
Daniel Amartey 22 D (R)
WB (R)
DM
M (C)
Ball winning midfielder Support 3 star 130/
150
Matty James 26 M (C) Central midfielder Defend 3 star 130/
135
Ahmed Musa 24 M (L)
AM (RL)
ST (C)
Winger Support 2.5 star 133/
141
Leonardo Ulloa 30 ST (C) Target man Support 3 star 130/
137
Injured/
unavailable
Robert Huth 32 D (C) Central defender Stopper 3 star 135/
143
Adrien Silva 28 M (C) Box to box midfielder Support 4 star 158/
159

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Alastair Pusinelli

First console: GameBoy Color / Favourite Game: Assassin's Creed 2 / Currently playing: Football Manager 2020

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