By Nick Mashiter, PA
Boss Brendan Rodgers admits Youri Tielemans could leave Leicester and that he has to prepare for life without the midfielder.
Tielemans has been linked with a move to Arsenal as he enters the final 18 months of his contract.
The Foxes’ record signing, who joined from Monaco for around £35million in 2019 after an initial loan spell, has excelled under Rodgers and scored the winner against Chelsea last May as Leicester won the FA Cup for the first time.
The club have been in contract talks with the Belgium international for months but are yet to strike a deal and Rodgers hinted Tielemans could leave.
He said: “He is at an age and at a stage in his contract where he has to ensure he looks at every option. I would love it to be here at Leicester, that is natural, but I understand it’s a very short career.
“For players it’s about ambition, the challenge and sometimes it’s about a different environment. We have seen it before many times.
“Teams have won the Champions League and the player will move on. That’s the nature of it. For me, I can only worry about keeping improving him as a player, keeping him focused and letting everything else be taken care of.
“We have a close relationship, it’s really strong. I made a commitment to him when I first came in that we would improve him as a player and he believes in the environment.
“Once the player is committed, focused and professional it’s never a worry for me. With Youri you can see his joy of being here, he loves being here and you have to respect these guys’ careers are short.”
Rodgers has always been pragmatic about keeping Leicester’s stars, with Harry Maguire joining Manchester United for £80million in 2019, and will always have replacements lined up.
“You always have to, that is key. I have said it before about the pipeline of players. You always have to be looking ahead, that’s important. Sometimes it happens unexpectedly,” he said.
“Other times you know where the situation is at. We will always look for the type of player who suits how we work, it’s always been the case and it will be the same with any player in any position.
“If we are going to lose one we have to be ready for the next one to come in.”