Football Manager 2020: Leicester City Team Guide – Tactics, formations, transfer targets & more
The Foxes are enjoying an incredible season but can you improve on their success in FM20?
Leicester City’s Premier League title win in 2015-16 is and will remain one of the biggest sporting shocks of all-time. The Foxes appeared to have had their time in the sun, especially after the tragic passing of their chairman.
However, Brendan Rodgers has been revolutionary at the King Power Stadium so far and Leicester look a strong favourite to finish in the top four of the league again.
That will be very tough to beat, but can you step into the hot seat in Leicester and take them even further?
Here’s our ultimate guide to breaking the Foxes into the top six in Football Manager 2020!
This new feature has been a big success in FM20. It is both a short-term and long-term set of goals for the club under your direction, as laid out by the board.
It includes play style aims, financial targets, and competition results, with increasing expectations over each year of your tenure.
READ MORE: FM20: Chelsea Team Guide
Leicester don’t have as many requirements as the big six clubs in the Premier League but they won’t be the easiest to achieve.
As manager, you’ll have to play an attacking and entertaining brand of football. You’ll also have to promote from within by developing youth players for first-team football.
For the competitions, the goals are fairly low for your first season. Leicester are expected to finish in the top half of the Premier League, which is fair enough. For the domestic cups, you’re expected to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup and the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
READ MORE: FM20 Real Madrid Guide
Going further forward, the board require you to establish the club as “best of the rest” (7th) for 2020-21 and qualify for the Europa League by the end of 2022-23.
Since the European places can go down to seventh in the Premier League (depending on cup winners) this is very reasonable.
Tactical style & formation
Leicester don’t have a huge advantage in terms of quality over their Premier League rivals, so their approach has to be more conservative than a top six side.
Gengenpress & tiki-taka are both recommended by your assistant manager but fluid counter-attack is your best bet for most matches.
It’s not only less gung-ho than the other options, but also suits the players that you have at your disposal the most.
Pace is arguably Leicester’s best asset, as players like Jamie Vardy, James Madison, Damarai Gray and Ben Chilwell are rapid and strike fear into defenders throughout the English football pyramid.
When it comes to your choice of formation, 5-3-2 is recommended but I think 4-1-4-1 DM Wide is best. Vardy is quite comfortable operating as a lone striker and the defensive midfielder will give you extra grit in the middle of the park.
Your starting XI is Kasper Schmeichel in goal, with a back four of Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans, Caglar Soyuncu and Ben Chilwell.
Wilfred Ndidi is your defensive midfielder with Hamza Choudhury and Youri Tielemans in from of him in the centre of the park. Marc Albrighton and James Maddison are your wingers who will provide service to your sole striker Jamie Vardy.
Your seven on the bench should be Danny Ward, Wes Morgan, Christian Fuchs, Dennis Praet, Demarai Gray, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Leicester have some very solid players which have allowed them to attain a solid squad Champions League spot and threaten in the domestic cups. There’s a good spread of where the best talent is concentrated, though, with the defence, midfield and attack all having quality footballers.
|Jamie Vardy||ST||32||149/155||17 aggression, 17 acceleration, 17 pace|
|Youri Tielemans||M (C), AM (C)||22||148/166||17 vision, 16 passing, 16 technique|
|James Maddison||M/AM (LC)||22||146/160||17 free kick taking, 16 flair, 16 passing|
|Ricardo Pereira||D/WB/AM (R)||25||146/160||16 acceleration, 15 pace, 15 natural fitness|
|Wilfred Ndidi||DM, M (C)||22||144/163||17 tackling, 17 stamina, 17 natural fitness|
As the players are relatively close in their overall FM ratings, choosing your best XI is difficult. It ultimately boils down to which qualities you rate highest and who your opponents are likely to field.
Leicester’s youth academy isn’t the best-known for producing top talent. Even if you discount the top six clubs, the likes of Southampton, Sheffield United and Everton consistently churn out more quality young players than the Foxes.
The board expect this to change, though and you have the luxury of being able to invest in the facilities, thanks to the advantage you have over many Premier League sides at the start of FM20.
Sidnei Tavares – CA 1.5 star (84), PA 3.5 star (130-160)
Sideni Tavares has the highest potential of any Leicester player who is 20 or younger at the start of FM20. His stats don’t look too remarkable, but he is only 17 years old.
The central midfielder has plenty of time to grow and with a maximum PA of 160, the Portuguese could be starting for your side within five years.
READ MORE: FM20: Arsenal team guide
To start out with, you’re probably best trying to loan Tavares out to a League 1 or 2 outfit, to give him first-team experience in England.
Kamal Sowah – CA 2 star (104), PA 3.5 star (120-150)
Kamal Sowah begins FM20 out on loan at OHL but he’s on Leicester’s books. Sowah is very quick (15 pace & acceleration) which makes him ideal for wide positions. Until he improves his passing (9) it’s probably best sticking him out there if you choose him after he returns to the King Power.
He will struggle to become much more than a squad rotation player, though, as a maximum PA of 150 isn’t much better than what you have at your disposal at the beginning of the game.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall – CA 2 star (100), PA 3.5 star (120-150)
Kieran Dewsbury-Hall could become an important asset to your side in the near future. With 14 work rate and stamina at the start of FM20, the Englishman will put the miles in on the pitch.
READ MORE: FM20: All the best contract expiry signings
Again, a League One loan is most likely your best course of action as he won’t be getting many appearances for the first. Failing a loan, some time in the Under-23’s won’t hurt as they’re competing in the EFL Trophy in 2019-20.
Starting transfer budget: £30 million
Remaining wage budget: £71,000 a week
The contract situation at the King Power stadium is good but the financial projections less so. There’s only a few million remaining in the bank to start FM20 with and this is set to go below the dotted line after a few months.
Unless the club offloads someone for serious money, you’re set to have a debt of over £10 million by the end of the 2021/22 season, although that negative value is shrinking.
Mercifully, the wage costs are set to actually decrease slightly over the coming seasons while the transfer budget will reach over £60m by the end of 21/22.
In terms of their role ability, Choudhury, Soyuncu and Albrighton have the lowest star rating but only the latter has reached their peak. A quality right winger would be the best type of player to purchase when managing Leicester and here’s our pick!
Otavio of Porto is a player that is cheap, young and of the kind of quality that Leicester need to improve their service to Vardy. Otavio is able to play all across the attacking midfield, so is excellent when injuries and suspensions strike.
He can probably be purchased for around £22.5m and ask for a wage under £50k per week, so he’s within budget your budget of £30m transfer and £80k wage. With a current ability of 140 and a potential to grow to 155, Otavio is a bargain for that price!
If Otavio doesn’t tickle your fancy, consider these other players instead:
Leicester will have transfer budgets of £45m and £60m over the coming seasons, so you can afford to spend relatively largely on some top talent. A good centre-back to help replace Morgan and then Evans would come in handy, as would another striker to one day overtake Vardy and provide competition for Iheanacho.
For the centre-back, you’re best off buying young. Rob Holding, Dael Fry and Zinho Vanheusden are the names you should be looking at. For the striker, Alfredo Morelos, Odsonne Edouard, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Isaac Success are some good players to aim for.
The contract situation at Leicester for the start of FM20 is a positive one, as their most important players are tied down to long-term deals.
The biggest name that has their contract up at the end of your first season is probably Wes Morgan. Although the Jamaican international is still good enough for the bench, he is 35 and it’s not worth the hassle of keeping him much longer.
Going further forward, at the end of 2020-21, Jonny Evans and Demarai Gray are the big names to have their respective contracts expire. It’s worth trying to extend their deals during your first season, it’s not worth allowing them to hold the club to ransom.
Finally, Jamie Vardy’s deal ends at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. He’s the best player at Leicester at the start of the game but by that time, he’ll be 34 and his pace will start dropping off. It’ll be very hard to say goodbye to such an influential player but you’ll more than likely have to.
Establishing yourselves as best of the rest
This is the goal that the board have set you for the end of your second season in change of the Foxes and it is achievable. You’ll face stiff competition from the likes of Wolves, West Ham and Everton with the former likely posing the biggest threat.
If you’re smart in the transfer market and a good tactician, though, you’ll pass this target.
From there, the Leicester board will want to break into the top six but this is a massive task. The gulf in both finances and quality between sixth and seventh in huge and one you’ll struggle to overcome.
Improve your side the best you can over the ensuing seasons but it’s probably best to focus your efforts on the domestic cups and the Europa League.
Finishing top four is unlikely but winning the Europa League is a possibility and one that would see you qualify for the Champions League.
Full Leicester player ratings
|Kasper Schmeichel||32||GK||SK||Defend||3 star||143/150|
|Ricardo Pereira||25||D/WB/AM (R)||WB||Support||3.5 star||146/160|
|Caglar Soyuncu||23||D (C)||CD||Defend||3 star||136/155|
|Jonny Evans||31||D (C)||BPD||Defend||3.5 star||143/155|
|Ben Chilwell||22||D/WB (L)||WB||Defend||3.5 star||143/165|
|Wilfred Ndidi||22||DM, M (C)||BBM||Support||3.5 star||144/163|
|Youri Tielemans||22||M/AM (C)||AP||Support||3.5 star||148/166|
|Hamza Choudhury||21||DM, M (C)||BWM||Support||3 star||134/158|
|Marc Albrighton||29||M/AM (RL)||IW||Support||3 star||135/142|
|James Maddison||22||M/AM (LC)||AM||Support||3.5 star||147/160|
|Jamie Vardy||32||ST||PF||Attack||3 star||149/155|
|Substitutes & Reserves|
|Danny Ward||26||GK||SK||Defend||2.5 star||129/145|
|Wes Morgan||35||D (C)||CD||Stopper||3 star||132/142|
|Christian Fuchs||33||D/WB (L)||FB||Support||3 star||129/145|
|Dennis Praet||25||M/AM (C)||AP||Support||3.5 star||141/150|
|Demarai Gray||22||M/AM (RL), ST||IW||Support||2.5 star||133/150|
|Harvey Barnes||21||AM (RLC)||IW||Support||3 star||137/158|
|Kelechi Iheanacho||22||AM (C), ST||AF||Attack||2.5 star||130/152|
|Eldin Jakupovic||34||GK||G||Defend||2.5 star||126/133|
|Filip Benkovic||21||D (C)||CD||Defend||2.5 star||132/162|
|Matty James||27||DM, M (C)||CM||Defend||2.5 star||125/135|
|James Justin||21||D/WB (RL)||WB||Defend||2.5 star||124/152|
|Ayoze Perez||25||M (R), AM (RC), ST||SS||Attacl||3 star||135/142|
|Nampalys Mendy||27||DM, M (C)||DM||Defend||2.5 star||130/140|
|Daniel Armatey||24||D (RC), DM, M (C)||FB||Support||2.5 star||131/145|