Kelechi Iheanacho released by Leicester as Jannik Vestergaard signs new three-year deal


Leicester City have confirmed the departures of Kelechi Iheanacho, Marc Albrighton and Dennis Praet.

The trio will leave the club upon the expiration of their contracts on June 30.

Jannik Vestergaard, though, has agreed a new three-year contract at Leicester through to 2027. The 31-year-old played a key role in Leicester’s promotion campaign, starting 44 matches across all competitions.

Leicester also confirmed earlier on Friday that talisman Jamie Vardy has signed a one-year contract extension ahead of the club’s return to the Premier League.

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Iheanacho, 27, joined Leicester in 2017 from Manchester City. He scored six goals and provided three assists in 26 games last season, registering 61 strikes and 34 assists in 232 appearances in total.

Albrighton, 34, has been at Leicester since 2014 and was a member of the famous Premier League-winning squad of 2015-16. The winger scored 19 goals and provided 48 assists in 313 games during his decade at the club. He spent the second half of the 2022-23 season on loan at West Bromwich Albion.

Praet, 30, joined Leicester from Sampdoria in the summer of 2019, going on to score five goals and provide seven assists in 107 appearances. He spent the 2021-22 season on loan at Torino and only made six league starts last season.

Vestergaard, who is part of Denmark’s squad for this summer’s European Championship, had only made 10 league appearances across his first two campaigns at Leicester following his 2021 transfer from Southampton but became an integral part of Enzo Maresca’s side last season. He was due to be out of contract this summer.

‘Iheanacho will forever be remembered as a cult hero’

Analysis by Ed Mackey

Four more Leicester contract decisions that come with varying degrees of surprise.

After the season he had under Maresca in the Championship, Vestergaard has certainly earned his extension. But questions still remain over his ability to perform to the level required in a Premier League defence, especially where Leicester will have a lot less possession than they did in the second tier.

As for those leaving the club, the announcement regarding Albrighton’s is not surprising as he was given a proper send-off on the final day of the Championship season, but his departure will still be upsetting for supporters. It leaves Vardy — whose one-year extension was confirmed earlier this afternoon — as the only remaining member of the Premier League-winning side of 2016.

Iheanacho will forever be remembered as a cult hero at Leicester where his performances at the back end of the 2020-21 campaign played a key role in the club finishing fifth in the Premier League and lifting their maiden FA Cup trophy. Last season, however, showed that now is the right time for both parties to go their separate ways as the 27-year-old managed just five goals — two of which were penalties — in 23 Championship appearances.

And that leaves Praet, who was always expected to leave this season. Injuries have plagued his time at King Power Stadium and it has been clear for a few years now that his long-term future was never likely to be at Leicester. But there were flashes of brilliance, just not enough, unfortunately.

(Warren Little/Getty Images)



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