Craig Shakespeare denies Leicester City players will quit club after fairy tale ends

Nick Howson
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Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare insists the club's best players will not be leaving this summer, following their exit from the Champions League. The likes of Ben Chilwell, who has been linked with Liverpool, and Manchester United target Wilfred Ndidi are among those to become subject to rumours interest from afar but the Foxes are prepared to be resolute.

The King Power Stadium outfit have been unable to repeat the heroics of last season – when they won the Premier League title – but did reach the last eight in Europe's premier club competition before being dumped out by Atletico Madrid. Jamie Vardy scored in both legs against the La Liga side but it was not enough to secure the club a berth in the semi-finals.

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With Leicester's foray in Europe over and the defence of their title having been overshadowed by a fight against relegation and the sacking of Claudio Ranieri, several of the championship-winning squad are set to move to pastures new. Liverpool's interest in Chilwell and Ndidi's intent to join United are among the rumours circling in the media – but Shakespeare does not expect any of his squad to leave.

"We have said before we don't want to be a selling club," the Leicester boss said ahead of the trip to Arsenal on Wednesday (26 April). "All the players are happy here. They are a very unique group, we have created something here which is quite special, so they have said they are quite happy.

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"It's again one of those things. I have no problems with players being ambitious but they are at a good club here and get looked after well. I'm sure the time will come to sit down. We will probably have agents knocking on the door but we've said before we don't want to be a selling club and we want to add."

Craig Shakespeare

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Even with a handful of weeks of the season remaining, Liverpool and United are expected to be two of the most active clubs in the upcoming transfer window. Neither club are yet assured of a Champions League spot for next season and both failed to stage a realistic assault on the title.

Liverpool have been linked with a move for England Under-21 international Chilwell for many months, with Jurgen Klopp lacking a genuine first choice left-back since losing faith in Alberto Moreno. James Milner has filled the role for much of the campaign but the Reds' defensive issues, which led to their title challenge unravelling, is likely to see the position filled in the summer.

Meanwhile, Ndidi moved to the East Midlands in January to fill the void left by N'Golo Kante the previous summer – but would be prepared to leave the club just six months on if United came calling. An agent close to the player has confirmed Ndidi will not turn down a move to Jose Mourinho's side.

Amid the uncertainty over the future of the crux of the current Leicester squad, the identity of the club's manager for next season is still unknown. Shakespeare took charge in February after Ranieri's exit and has been installed until the end of the campaign, though there are no guarantees he will be retained beyond the summer.

"I'm sure the owners and the board are aware of that," said Shakespeare, who is unbeaten in seven of his eight games in charge and still has a contract as assistant manager. "I am in charge of pre-season. We are looking at that. I have had one meeting about recruitment, which I really enjoyed. Any time the club wishes to talk about recruitment or pre-season, of course I have an interest in it. Pre-season is sorted, so any things like that, that involves me, I am happy to be involved."

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