SOME of Brendan Rodgers’ biggest admirers will be at the King Power tomorrow.
Among the 30,000 expectant Leicester faithful, Arsenal’s travelling officials will play out a game of poker behind the scenes.
Rodgers, fast becoming the world’s most-wanted football coach, is earmarked for the Gunners job.
It is easy to see why.
Leicester’s progressive approach, along with Rodgers’ absolute commitment to serving up attractive football, suits the latte-sippers at the Emirates.
Fans in the red half of North London are crying out for the good old Arsenal, a throwback to the days when they could romanticise about the passing of Fabregas, the pace of Henry or the brainpower of Bergkamp.
The current Arsenal, under Unai Emery’s increasingly chaotic stewardship, is stodgy, stale and unworkable.
His management style is under scrutiny with fans and owners. The club has turned toxic.
If Leicester turn the Gunners over tomorrow, as many are predicting, then expect some more chat behind the scenes about Rodgers.
With experience of managing top players at Liverpool and Celtic, he has the credentials to succeed Emery.
Rodgers is regarded as a manager with the ability to mould and shape a modern club. In just a few short months he has transformed Leicester into a must-watch again.
Rodgers stretches minds, asking more of his players and making them think about problems and solutions.
Arsenal are a giant puzzle, one that would surely appeal to Rodgers.
He has made Leicester a fashionable side, refining the system they used when they made fools of the ‘Big Six’ by winning the title in 2016.
After Sunday’s controlled 2-0 win at Crystal Palace lifted them back into third in the table, Rodgers took time out to explain the subtlety of their tactics.
Leicester’s progressive head coach has remodelled Jamie Vardy’s game, asking him to play off the shoulder of the last defender instead of chasing down the back four.
It is the job of others to harass opponents when they lose possession, which is not very often these days.
Vardy, who loves working under Rodgers, has already scored ten times. With a careful fitness programme, which includes the benefit of some added vitamin D by spending time in the winter sun during international breaks, Vardy is rejuvenated.
So are his team-mates, responding to Rodgers’ work ethic with an impressive start to the season.
Since his controversial move from Celtic in February, his decision-making has been spot-on.
It was his call to sell Harry Maguire, to rake in £85million, and promote Turkish centre-half Caglar Soyuncu in his place. Foxes fans already have a colourful song for that.
Soyuncu responded with his first goal for the club, nodding in the opener at Selhurst Park.
Alongside Jonny Evans, a steal at £3m when he was signed by the previous regime in June 2018, Leicester have the joint best defensive record in the Premier League.
It is hard to imagine those two defenders conceding the type of goal Arsenal allowed Bruno Duarte to score in the Europa League tie with Vitoria Guimaraes on Wednesday.
Leicester are easy on the eye, with the manner of their record-breaking 9-0 win at Southampton last month adding to their appeal.
Champions League football beckons, with Rodgers targeting a return to Europe after seven wins in 11 games.
Beat Arsenal tomorrow evening and Rodgers will soon have another big call to make.
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