Leicester City fans, we’re going to take you back to January, back when Claudio Ranieri was still in charge and the search for a new centre-back was underway.
One of the main targets was Anderlecht’s Kara Mbodj, who was being pursued by more than one Premier League club, but who eventually ended up staying in Belgium.
The choice was down to the Belgian club, as explained by their director of football, Herman Van Holsbeeck, in Wednesday’s Sport/Foot magazine, who decided to keep him in order to help their chances of winning the Jupiler Pro League and getting into the Champions League.
There was also a problem with his knee, which caused a disagreement, with Kara wanting an operation, which led to a club statement being released.
The fee Leicester City were prepared to pay was said to be around €15m, yet Van Holsbeeck admitted in the interview it was less than that.
He said: “I could have sold Kara to Leicester and earned €6-7m, but we would have lost the title, because Kara was so important in that season.”
In fact, while there could have been sour grapes regarding the failed move to the King Power Stadium, the defender acted as professional as can be, even promising the board member the title.
Van Holsbeeck continued: “Kara looked me in the eye and said: ‘Mister Van Holsbeeck, we’re going to be champions’. We were mid playoffs, I was amazed, a bit stressed. He repeated: ‘Don’t worry, King Kara is telling you we will be champions’. That’s Kara.”
Expected to move in the summer, with a promise of a smoother transfer, it appears Craig Shakespeare never really came back for what appears to have been a Claudio Ranieri target more than anything else.