Rodgers confirms Pereira is out injured for six months; ‘hopes’ to keep Maddison, Fofana

Jason Soutar
Brendan Rodgers during a pre-season friendly

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers discussed Ricardo Pereira, James Maddison, Wesley Fofana, Kasper Schmeichel and potential incoming signings on Friday.

The Foxes are the only Premier League club yet to make a signing this summer.

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Their only notable departure has been Schmeichel, who was allowed to leave with less than a year left on his contract, joining French club Nice.

However, Leicester may struggle to fend off interest from Chelsea for Fofana and Newcastle for Maddison, while Jamie Vardy has surprisingly been linked with a move elsewhere.

Amidst interest the crucial duo that is Fofana and Maddison, Rodgers has said that neither player is for sale.

On more departures, he told reporters on Friday (quotes via Leicester Mercury): “I hope not. These players are not for sale.

“We need to move players out but it’s not getting rid of everyone and certainly not our best assets. It’s something the club are very strong on. James and Wesley are training very well and working hard for our game on Sunday.

“There have been enquiries about a number of the players, so we’ll have to see how that materialises, but there’s nothing imminent.”

On if huge transfer bids will change the club’s stance, he added: “That’s down to the club. For me, I concentrate on football.”

Rodgers spoke about Schmeichel’s departure, and he was full of praise of the Danish goalkeeper: “He’s a true icon of the club. He has been very important to the club. On the pitch, a colossal player for the club, been a part of all the great successes over the past decade.

“A real good guy off the field and I don’t say that lightly. His passion, his determination. Living with the name Schmeichel was going to be tough, but he made a name for himself. His service was immense.

“I’ll miss him, players will miss him. New adventure for him in the south of France and he’ll really enjoy that.”

The captaincy became vacant following Schmeichel’s departure and Rodgers has confirmed who will wear the armband this season.

“Jonny Evans,” he said. “Jonny represents the collective standards of these players. He has huge respect in the changing room for what he’s achieved. He’s the natural guy to step forward.”

On potential new signings, Rodgers said: “As things stand, I believe not. I mentioned that before, there’s nobody imminent coming in.

“The concentration has purely been on the players who are here. I think we can do well. Any manager will want new players in their squad. I felt this was a time we would need to improve.

“I respect the club’s position. The club have been outstanding in supporting me. This time, I need to support them. It’s unfortunate. I don’t need to fight with anyone. I would have loved to improve the squad. There is time until the end of August if things change.

“There’s been a lot of noise around the club, naturally because we haven’t signed a player, but when we go into every season, there are possibilities. Internally we’re very excited about the season and hopefully the noise doesn’t affect the mentality of the stadium. We’re going to need them.”

While Rodgers is happy with his squad, he has been dealt a huge blow after right-back Pereira suffered a ruptured Achilles.

The Portuguese defender will miss up to six months and Rodgers is particularly disappointed with the injury after working all summer on basing a lot of his side’s play on the full-backs.

“It was looking really good, but we’ve picked up injuries against Sevilla,” he said. “Sadly Ricardo Pereira will be out for up to six months with a ruptured Achilles. A lot of our game idea was about our full-backs and him in particular.

“He was looking so good. It’s a massive blow to him. Operation last night. He’ll get up again and get strong. Harvey (Barnes) came off and he may be out for a few weeks. Apart from that, the squad is ok.”

“It (Pereira’s Achilles) just snapped. He’s looked so good in pre-season. He’ll be a big miss for us.”

On Harvey Barnes’ injury: “Hopefully he won’t be too long and he can come back and pick up where he left off.”

Leicester kick off their Premier League campaign against Brentford this weekend, and Rodgers is expecting a tough test.

“Always a difficult game,” the former Celtic manager said. “We won the games last season but they were tough.

“It looks like they’re playing with a back four, having got promoted playing as a back three. They’re well-coached and well-organised. Thomas has done a fantastic job there.

“When we played them last year where there was concern if they would remain in the league, but they finished the season very well. You’re always happy to be home in the first game. Supporters will be very important for us this season.”

On season expectations: “We’ll see how it goes. The challenge is always there. There are more competitors now for those European places. Challenge for Europe is always the aim. We’ll carry that into the season.”