Owen: Leicester could face relegation battle next season

Leicester City have been a revelation in the 2015/2016 Premier League season as they edge their way towards a title that nobody saw coming, but Michael Owen could see the Foxes becoming embroiled in a fight to avoid the drop next season if they do not capitalise on their success during the summer.

Speaking on the Fletch and Sav Show on BT Sport last month, Owen, who sat alongside Paul Ince as a guest, claimed that Leicester have some big decisions to make with the Champions League money the club will receive if they manage to achieve the fairytale ending to what has been a wonderful story.

It represents a meteoric rise for a club that avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth last season, and although Betway were amongst numerous bookmakers who rated their title chances as non-existent, they have defied all the odds to be just eight games away from completing one of the biggest shocks in Premier League history.

It remains to be seen whether their five-point lead at the summit will be enough to see off the challenge of nearest rivals Tottenham, and while Arsenal and Manchester City cannot be ruled out just yet despite being over ten points behind the leaders, many neutrals are firmly behind Leicester in their pursuit of glory.

How Leicester handle themselves on the pitch between now and the end of the season will ultimately determine whether they will become champions, and with every game that passes by, they look more like a team that deserve to win the title. Back-to-back 1-0 victories against Watford and Newcastle symbolise the qualities that Ranieri’s side have shown all season, and while their odds have improved since their last match, being installed as odds-on favourites with Betway to finish at the summit will be irrelevant if Leicester allow the pressure to get to them.

Approaching each game with calmness and methodical planning should be enough to see the Foxes over the line, but Owen has pointed out that it could be a crucial summer ahead for the club; dealing with the rapid increase in expectancy may prove a real challenge, and while there is a question mark over whether Leicester will choose to invest the vast level of income generated through a potential league title and Champions League qualification, Ranieiri may also face the prospect of losing the likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Ngolo Kante who have been outstanding throughout their campaign.

“Leicester conceivably could go down next year. They could win the league and they could still be in a relegation fight next year. It depends which way they go. They could go and invest all of their Champions League money and try to be a top club for years to come.

"Or they could pocket the money, maybe lose someone like Mahrez. All of a sudden, their team is not a Manchester United squad or a Liverpool squad, and they’re having an unbelievable season. I sincerely hope they go on and win it but they could go down,” said the 2001 European Player of the Year award winner.