Premier League

Leicester Have Missed Out On Perfect Shakespeare Replacement

 • by Simon Collings
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After Everton and Leicester City both sacked their managers within the space of a week, Sean Dyche suddenly became the most wanted man in football.

Dyche has rightly earned a reputation as one of the best up and coming managers during his time at Burnley.

Since taking charge at Turf Moor in 2012 he has overseen two promotions from the Championship. Sceptics may point to the fact he was relegated too but he stayed put and brought Burnley back to the Premier League the year after.

In the harsh world of the Premier League he is one of a select few flying the flag for English managers.

To date there are only four permanent English bosses in the top flight and Dyche is arguably the pick of them. Although Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe runs him close.

It is exactly why the likes of Everton and Leicester are sniffing around Dyche as they look to appoint new managers.

Both have undoubtedly been impressed by his work at Burnley where, with limited resources, he has continued to defy the odds.

This summer they ended up making a profit of around £15million in the transfer window, helped largely by the sale of Michael Keane to Everton.

The centre-back left for around £30million and many expected his departure to leave a gaping hole. However, James Tarkowski has merely stepped up to fill the vacant role.

Life has seamlessly carried on at Burnley – as it so often does with Dyche at the helm.

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When talk of Leicester was put to Dyche following the sacking of Craig Shakespeare, he swiftly batted it away.

“First of all, I don’t want any manager to lose their job, I’m in the business and it’s very tough. There’s always empathy in that situation,” he said.

“It’s not the first time I’ve been linked. In a way you’re flattered by these links because it’s some form of recognition of the work that’s been done by the players, by the staff and by myself at this club.

“But they are paper stories. There’s no story from me. I’ve had it before and that’s the way it is.

“I’m not aware of any approach from any club during my time here.”

Leicester now appear set to appoint former Southampton coach Claude Puel. But it may well prove a decision they regret in not turning to Dyche.

The two look a very good match on paper and crucially the Foxes have a squad that would suit Dyche. Under the 46-year-old, Burnley have become a defensively solid team who can exploit their opponents on the counter.

Sound familiar?

Such a style could be implemented at Leicester seamlessly given the players on offer there.

You can easily imagine Dyche getting the best out of the likes of Harry Maguire and Kasper Schmeichel at the back. While the chance to work with pacey forwards like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez must intrigue him too.

The concern for Dyche would perhaps be Leicester’s owners. They are currently set to appoint their third manager in eight months.

That is hardly an attractive proposition for a manager who has been working at a club that stuck by him even through relegation.

However, whatever you think of the Foxes hierarchy, they do financially back their managers. Both Claudio Ranieri and Shakespeare were given plenty to spend on new recruits. Sadly for them, they didn’t prove to be effective.

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More recently, Everton have reportedly sounded out Dyche after axing Ronald Koeman. Again, the Burnley boss has been respectful.

“It’s very flattering, I’ve been linked with other situations before,” he said at FIFA awards ceremony at the London Palladium.

“I just keep getting on with my job until things change. It’s out of my hands, I’m just getting on with what I do.”

The truth is, though, one day Dyche is going to have to cut the cord with Burnley. Finding the right step will of course be a challenge. However, Leicester and not Everton feels like the right fit.

The Toffees have a squad bloated with playmakers and No.10s. They are devoid of pace and width, while their defence also looks just as leaky as their neighbours Liverpool.

It hardly seems like an environment Dyche could, or for that matter, would want to walk into. He would simply be taking on the same problems Koeman had.

Leicester, on the other hand, look primed for the 46-year-old to tweak. The base is there, he just needs to strengthen their values and style.

In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Dyche spoke about the difficulties he faced in taking that next step away from Burnley.

“You have to weave your way like the river, pick up your skills and keep going,” Dyche said.

“Some jobs you look at and think: ‘That’s nearly impossible to turn round.’ But what are your circumstances? If you are in a job and another becomes available and you can’t see a way of that moving forward, then you have a choice.

“If you are out of work and a job becomes available you might think: ‘I have to take it because jobs are so scarce.’”

Dyche is in that luxury position where he doesn’t have to jump at a job opening. But, when he looks back in a few years, he may regret he didn’t do just that when Leicester came calling.

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