Leicester City invited to play in Premier League Asia Trophy - but won't commit during relegation fight

John Percy
The Telegraph
Craig Shakespeare is battling to keep Leicester in the Premier League - Copyright (c) 2017 Rex Features. No use without permission.
Craig Shakespeare is battling to keep Leicester in the Premier League - Copyright (c) 2017 Rex Features. No use without permission.

Leicester have been invited to play in the Premier League Asia Trophy – but are delaying their pre-season plans as they battle relegation to the Championship.

Champions League quarter-finalists Leicester have an offer to take part in the prestigious Far East tournament in July, which is likely to include Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion and super-rich Chinese side Shanghai SIPG.

But the defending league champions and tournament organisers are unable to rubber-stamp Leicester’s involvement as it is still unclear what division they will be playing in next season.

Despite being the only English club to reach the last eight of the Champions League, after their victory over Sevilla on Tuesday, Leicester remain in danger of dropping out of the top-flight.

Craig Shakespeare has guided the Foxes to two successive league victories but they will face West Ham this weekend only three points above the relegation zone, meaning their summer plans are on hold.

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The Asia Trophy will be held in Hong Kong and China in July and talks have been ongoing with the Leicester hierarchy for months. Liverpool have agreed to play in the tournament, which is held every two years, but Leicester are yet to commit while they fight to preserve their Premier League status. 

It is thought that another alternative pre-season schedule has also been discussed, in the event of relegation.

Leicester will discover their opponents in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Friday, with European heavyweights including Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich still left in the competition.

Yet Shakespeare, who has replaced Claudio Ranieri at the King Power Stadium, has revealed his players will not be watching the draw.

“We’ll be out training as normal at the time of the draw, the preparation has to be on West Ham. We will find out when we go back in after training,” he said.

“I haven’t banned talk of the Champions League but all the focus has to be on the next game. We must not get carried away, even though there are lots of nice memories.

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