Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers insists the aura associated with Manchester United remains despite their recent decline – and that is why Harry Maguire left for Old Trafford.
United’s trophy-laden era under Sir Alex Ferguson has become a distant memory since his departure in 2013. In fact, Leicester have won more Premier League titles during the intervening years.
Under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the gulf to rivals Manchester City and Liverpool has become a chasm, while the gap to what is often referred to as the chasing pack has narrowed alarmingly.
In contrast, Leicester are a club very much on the up. However, this summer they lost their star defender to United after Maguire made it clear he would like to join Solskjaer’s side – and the Foxes’ asking price of £80million was met.
Some questioned Maguire’s move, suggesting Leicester, in the short term at least, might achieve more success, but Rodgers says he understands why the England international wanted to go.
“I’ve been fortunate enough having been at Liverpool, and I understand the draw that type of club has – Liverpool and Manchester United,” said Rodgers, whose team play United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
“They are the two biggest clubs in the country by far. There are other great clubs and other big clubs but those two, in terms of worldwide status, are above everyone else.
“There are other great clubs in England that are currently trying to catch those two but when players get the opportunity to go to one of those clubs and to experience that type of pressure and expectation – and of course there will be a financial side to it as well, where you can go and double your salary – then that package, in a short career and at Harry’s age, is perhaps too hard to turn down.
“And I understand that – I get it. What we are building here at Leicester is exciting, with the new training ground and how we are trying to progress on the field, but for lots of players that draw is still there and I understand it.”
United have finished in the top four in the Premier League just twice since Ferguson left six years ago, winning two trophies, and Leicester could go six points in front of the Reds with victory on Saturday.
Rodgers said: “They may not have achieved what they would have liked over the past few years but it is still a very tough place to go and I am aware that Leicester have not won at Old Trafford in 21 years.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.