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Leicester Are Hitting The Transfer Market With The Champions League In Mind

Leicester Are Hitting The Transfer Market With The Champions League In Mind
By John Balfe
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Leicester City have begun preparing for life as one of Europe's big boys by assembling a list of transfer targets that would have blown the minds of their supporters just a couple of short years ago.

Having already nailed down Jamie Vardy to a new contract they will now hope that the heartbeat of their side, N'Golo Kante, will resist temptations to move despite rumours of Real Madrid and Chelsea willing to pay out on his £20 million release clause.

England's player of the year Riyad Mahrez also looks set to stay and he might be joined at the club by another equally exciting import from the French league - Hatem Ben Arfa.

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Those of you who don't follow Ligue 1 closely might remember Ben Arfa as that bloke who broke his leg playing for Newcastle and ended his career in England with an uninspiring loan spell at Hull City but Ben Arfa was in sensational form for Nice last season.

So good was his form that he has been linked to practically all of Europe's top clubs so far this summer, including Paris St. Germain, Lyon and Barcelona but, according to Lyon president Jean Michel Aulas, Ben Arfa intends to snub these clubs and trade the the sunny climes of the French riviera for, well, Leicester.

Aulas said to Canal+:

Ben Arfa, it is a question of passion. He is close to our desire, our enthusiasm, to our fans. I think that he really wants to join Lyon. If he does not come, it will be for reasons that have nothing to do with passion. I believe that it is more Leicester City in terms of the direction he is heading. That is what people have told me who spoke to him on the phone this afternoon.

This would be a massive transfer coup for Claudio Ranieri's men as they prepare for their debut season at European football's top table. Ben Arfa's 17 goals last season placed him only behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Alexandre Lacazette in the goalscoring charts and he would add another massive threat to Leicester's incisive breakaway play.

Leicester are tipped to make several more signings this summer, with Robbie Brady understood to be close to moving to the King Power Stadium. Troy Deeney of Watford and Michael Keane of Burnley are also said to be of keen interest to Ranieri, although it must be said, those two don't quite scream Champions League glamour like Ben Arfa and the undoubted star of Euro 2016, Robbie Brady.

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