Leicester City are reportedly set to break their transfer record for Deportivo La Coruna striker Lucas Perez – and are also expecting to bring in Spanish defender Luis Hernandez on a free transfer.
According to The Guardian, Claudio Ranieri has identified Perez as a player with similar attributes to Jamie Vardy – and one who can rival him for a place in the Foxes’ attack next season.
Ranieri also confidently expects to bring in at least one more player from Spain with Leicester in advanced negotiations to finalise a free transfer for Hernandez, a central defender from Sporting Gijon, who will help provide cover for Wes Morgan and Robert Huth.
Ranieri wants to provide extra competition for places now Leicester also have the Champions League to prepare for and the manager plans to strengthen every other area of his team in case the club endure the kind of injury issues they avoided en route to becoming the most unlikely champions of the Premier League era.
Lucas, as he is commonly known, is regarded as having similar attributes to Vardy after a season when the Spaniard’s 17 league goals for Deportivo represents over a third of their entire total. He is 27, like Hernández, and equalled a 22-year club record this season when he emulated Bebeto’s achievement of having scored in seven successive games for the Galician club.
Apart from the forwards of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, only two other players have scored more in Spain this season. Lucas has never been capped by Spain but has been in the best form of his career and will not come cheaply bearing in mind his contract does not expire until 2019.
Leicester have been enticed by his one-in-two goals record and it will not faze them unduly if it means they have to exceed the £9m spent on making the Croatian Andrej Kramaric, now on loan at 1899 Hoffenheim, their record signing from Rijeka in January last year.