Why Leicester City want Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers to replace Claude Puel

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Brendan Rodgers is on the verge of leaving Celtic for Leicester City.

• READ MORE: Brendan Rodgers set to leave Celtic with Neil Lennon to take charge

Brendan Rodgers is on the verge of leaving Celtic. Picture: SNS/Craig Foy

Brendan Rodgers is on the verge of leaving Celtic. Picture: SNS/Craig Foy

It is being widely reported the Foxes are in talks with their No.1 target to replace Claude Puel and are willing to part with between £5million and £7.5million to bring the Northern Irishman to the Midlands.

The expectation was that Leicester would make an interim appointment before attempting to bring Rodgers to the club in the summer. However, they want him in charge immediately.

The 46-year-old revealed in the summer he had a tempting offer from China but the prospect of a Premier League side with deep pockets - Leicester’s average salary is three times larger than Celtic’s - and ambitions of Europe may be the most enticing proposal he has received since moving to the East End of Glasgow.

Speaking on Sportsound, the BBC’s chief football writer in England Phil McNulty said: “Brendan Rodgers has always been the name in the background as the man as the potential successor (to Claude Puel).

“All the information that we are getting, all the soundings, even as far back as December is that Brendan Rodgers is the type of manager that they would want.”

So why is Rodgers Leicester’s No.1 target?

Premier League experience

“His record in the Premier League, with Swansea City as well as Liverpool, was good,” said McNulty. “I think he fits the bill in terms of profile. He’s a coach who can get the best out of the squad.”

Brendan Rodgers will forever has his place in Premier League folklore. The manager who was effectively a slip away from leading Liverpool to their first top-flight title since 1990. It was an exhilarating season for the Anfield side as they hit 101 goals on their way to narrowly missing out on the league win.

His two other full seasons with the club fell more on the mediocre side with finishes of seventh and sixth.

However, he also managed Swansea City to an impressive 11th place in their debut season in the Premier League following promotion through the Championship playoffs.

With the expectation of a struggle for the Welsh side, they were largely comfortable, while they took points off some of the elite sides, including a draw with Chelsea and defeat of Arsenal.

Winner

While Rodgers didn’t lead Liverpool to league or cup success, he has made up for the lack of silverware by winning every domestic trophy available to him at Celtic each season.

His two previous clubs are two of the biggest in the world with huge demands and incessant pressure. At Parkhead he has handled that with consummate ease.

The teams he puts on the park are set out win, even if that has been to his detriment in Europe. On the domestic front when Celtic have been required to win a game they have won that game.

A stronger, more robust, winning mentality has been instilled at the club. Instances such as Kris Commons blasting the management team after being subbed against Molde would not be tolerated.

Player development

James Forrest, Stuart Armstrong, Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor, Moussa Dembele, Ryan Christie et al.

Rodgers’ impact on developing players has been impressive and perhaps the aspect of his time at Celtic which stands out the most - aside from all the trophies, of course.

McNulty said: “Puel was very committed to playing young players, we saw the development of Ben Chilwell who is in the England team now, and also in terms of investment they invested in young players like James Maddison from Norwich City who has been a success this season.

“They are looking for someone who can improve the young players, who will give them the sort of profile they need in terms of a positive outlook.”

Leicester’s average age in the Premier League this season is one of the lowest at 26.1.

Positive football

Leicester City fans had grown bored of Claude Puel’s football with the players also struggling to adapt to his philosophy and once results, especially at home, started to go against him pressure increased rapidly.

The Foxes have been a soft touch this season conceding the opening goal 19 times in the league as per John Percy, while they have the fourth worst home record.

A new football identity is required and a glance at seeing what he has done at Celtic is very appealing. It has been noted by many that Rodgers deserves extra credit for his success at Parkhead due to the style in which they have achieved it.

Plus, he showed a willingness to adapt at Liverpool. They were more direct with their passing compared to the possession-orientated approach at Swansea and Celtic. Rodgers appreciated they needed to get Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge involved as quickly as possible and they were arguably more exciting for it.

Personality

“Unfortunately for Puel, there is not a lot he can do about it, but he does comes across as this very dour, downbeat character,” said McNulty. “It counted against him at Southampton, counted against him at Leicester City because he just couldn’t make any sort of connection with the fans.”

Staff and players felt alienated under Puel at Leicester while fans were left uninspired by the man in the dugout.

Simply by stepping through the door at Celtic Park and the Lennoxtown training ground, spirits were lifted by Rodgers. Fans instantly saw a leader and every member of staff was made to feel part of the team.

The Northern Irishman knew that the little things, like knowing names, made a huge difference to mood around the club, building camaraderie.

As well as being a hands-on coach on the training pitch, Rodgers understands the importance of man management.