King Claudio set for power deal at Leicester

Leicester City vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has confirmed that he will be in discussion with Ranieri (with crown) at the end of the season about a contract extension.
Leicester City vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has confirmed that he will be in discussion with Ranieri (with crown) at the end of the season about a contract extension. PHOTO: REUTERS

Foxes boss to be rewarded with a long-term stay at the helm, Vardy seeks improved pay

LONDON • Leicester City's vice-chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, has suggested Claudio Ranieri will be offered a contract extension at the end of the season as a reward for leading the club to the Premier League title.

He signed a three-year contact on taking over at the east Midlands club last July and the hierarchy at the King Power Stadium are keen to extend the Italian's stay for as long as possible given the remarkable achievement he has masterminded there.

The 64-year-old spoke this week about his desire to one day manage Italy, with the current national team coach Antonio Conte departing after the European Championship to take over at Chelsea. But there is little suggestion Ranieri would leave Leicester to succeed the former Juventus midfielder.

Aiyawatt has also revealed that Ranieri's assistant manager Craig Shakespeare and head of recruitment Steve Walsh are close to extending their deals with the club.

He said: "At the end of the season, we will talk about that (extending Ranieri's contract) with him. We will sit down together and when we talk about something, it's long term, not just until September. I like people to work for me when they are happy and enjoy working with the group of people.

"I think both (Shakespeare and Walsh) have agreed new deals. They did a brilliant job here and they are happy to do that."

STEP BY STEP

We will try everything that we can to build the team and to secure the same group of players and add some quality. I have to talk to all of the scouts when they give me the lists. I have to talk to Claudio about which player he wants. I always support, always.

AIYAWATT SRIVADDHANAPRABHA, Leicester vice-chairman, on building next season's squad.

That will come as good news to Leicester supporters but some will fear that while the manager and backroom staff stay on, some of the players who led the club to a first top-flight championship will move on. Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante have both been linked with other, wealthier clubs with the latter believed to have a release clause of £20 million (S$39.5 million) in his contract.

Aiyawatt claims to be unsure of any such clause in the midfielder's contract and insists the desire of those in charge at Leicester is to not only retain all key members of the title-winning squad but add to it.

"We will try everything that we can to build the team and to secure the same group of players and add some quality," he said.

"I have to talk to all of the scouts when they give me the lists. I have to talk to Claudio about which player he wants. I always support, always."

Speaking about bonuses that may have been given to the Leicester players for winning the title, Aiyawatt said: "The players deserve as in the contract. The contracts they have, I think they are already happy. I cannot say the number.

"I heard we are going to give Mercedes Benz, I don't know where that's from. But it's a good idea. If I can, I will do it. I have to see the regulations and I follow. If I can, I will."

Meanwhile, Jamie Vardy hopes to hold talks about an improved contract this summer, months after he was given a new deal worth £70,000 a week.

The England striker has scored 24 goals this season, one fewer than Harry Kane, and could claim the Golden Boot as the Premier League's top scorer. In February, he was handed a new contract to run until 2019 but is paid much less than some of his rivals.

The 29-year-old was on the radar of Chelsea in January and he has been offered by an intermediary to a number of clubs recently including West Ham United, who are looking for a striker and could find it difficult to match the wage demands of Christian Benteke, of Liverpool, who is a top target.

Vardy, however, has said that he is "happy" at Leicester.

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2016, with the headline 'King Claudio set for power deal at Leicester'. Print Edition | Subscribe