coming up. Welcome to our live blog of West Ham United versus Leicester. It’s last season’s sixth placed side versus the team who finished fifth and, while on the face of it West Ham’s result was an absolute triumph, the vibes down in Stratford are not necessarily as great as all that. This excellent piece from Sam Wallace gives you a handy primer into goings on at West Ham.
Volatility reigns at West Ham as club braces itself for second takeover bid
And one question that all Hammers fans will want sorted is the future of Declan Rice, whose standing grew yet further after some fine England performances in the summer. The club are doing what they can to hold onto him, but as Matt Law says, that is not going to keep everyone happy for the long term.
Declan Rice unhappy with West Ham’s prohibitive £100m price tag
As for Leicester, a real shame to miss out on the Champions League (again), but a fine season, an FA Cup, and they also managed to keep hold of their big names. For our Midlands football expert John Percy, that represents a job well done, and promise of another good campaign this term.
Analysis: how high can Leicester finish this season?
Both teams won their opening match of this season.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers believes keeping hold of his star players this summer indicates that they share the club’s ambitions.
The Foxes have consistently sold players to “bigger” clubs in recent years, with N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater and Ben Chilwell all joining Chelsea, Riyad Mahrez moving to Manchester City and Harry Maguire signed by Manchester United.
A similar move for James Maddison to Arsenal was a source of speculation until the Gunners signed Martin Odegaard, while Harvey Barnes committed his future to the club by signing a new four-year contract this week.
Rodgers is also hopeful that Youri Tielemans, who scored a stunning winner as Leicester won the FA Cup for the first time in their history in May, will also follow suit as he prepared for Monday’s Premier League game at West Ham.
“Players have felt the need to move on and further their careers, which is fine, and that’s the nature of the game,” Rodgers said. “It will always happen and some of the biggest clubs in the world will lose their players.
“You’ve always got to be preparing this pipeline of players going forward so if you do lose them you get the next ones coming in. That’s something we are very clear on as a club.
“I just think this summer the players have been able to reflect on where we’re at as a team and a club and feel they want to be a part of that, which is great news.
“There have been things this year around James (Maddison), but the reality of that is it was all paper talk, gossip, because there was never an enquiry, never a bid. There was no drama there.”