Claudio Ranieri will not seek big-name signings for Leicester City’s Premier League title defence in order to preserve the dressing room spirit at the King Power Stadium.
Tottenham’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea on Monday confirmed Ranieri’s men as champions with two games to spare, capping a remarkable run to glory for his team of 5,000-1 outsiders.
Following extended scenes of celebrations within the Leicester squad and across the city, Ranieri was given a standing ovation by the assembled media before his briefing on Thursday.
Complimentary champagne was handed out to those in attendance and Ranieri proceeded to say he has no intention of dismantling his all-conquering side with a Champions League campaign on the horizon.
“I don’t want the big names here, I don’t want to break my dressing room – my lads are special,” he said.
“We want to buy some good players but who arrives must have the same spirit.”
There is likely to be sustained speculation over the future of star men such as Jamie Vardy, N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez over the close-season, with the latter’s agent already saying the PFA Player of the Year is only “50-50” to stay at Leicester.
But Ranieri urged his players against seeking pastures new.
“I’m very, very confident [they will stay],” he said.
“I suggest to all my players stay one year more. Don’t go. If you go another team, you might not get on the pitch.”
Leicester will be presented with the Premier League trophy after Saturday’s home match against Everton, where the King Power Stadium will be serenaded by opera star Andrea Bocelli.
Ranieri, a 64-year-old veteran of spells at Chelsea, Juventus, Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Inter, will relish receiving the first top-flight title of his career.
“My fairytale started in Cagliari a long time ago, where I went up from Serie C, to Serie B to Serie A,” he said.
“Now I win the Premier League with Leicester, with these fantastic lads.
“It’s my karma. I’ve fought so hard to achieve so this is special.”
On whether he would consider stepping down while on top, Ranieri added: “You’re crazy! I like to joke but I am not crazy.”
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