Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson has defended the £8 million signing of Brighton & Hove Albion’s Leonardo Ulloa, after the striker’s price tag received criticism from some sectors.
Joining Brighton in January 2013 from Spain’s Almeria, Ulloa scored 23 goals in 50 Championship appearances during his 18-month spell on the South Coast, before becoming Leicester’s club-record buy earlier this week, eclipsing the £5.5 million spent on Ade Akinbiyi in 2000.
With the club returning to the top-flight after a 10-year absence, the 27-year-old becomes Pearson’s fifth addition of the summer and the manager believes his side are setting themselves up well to handle the rigours of the Premier League.
‘We’re delighted to have secured Leo’s signature. He comes into quite a competitive squad already,’ he said.
‘I know people are saying it’s quite a lot of money for us but, when you look at the Premier League deals that are being done, I think we’ve made a decent one.
‘We’ve also signed players who are valuable assets to us without paying significant fees so how other people perceive good business and bad business is up to them,’ he added.
‘What’s important for us is that any players who come into our squad compliment what we’ve got and improve us, and are also the right types of people. I’m very pleased with the business we’ve done so far.’
Signing a four-year deal, the Argentine is in fact the first player Leicester have dished out a fee for this summer, with previous arrivals Marc Albrighton, Jack Barmby, Ben Hamer and Mattew Upson all brought in on frees.
However, the club are also currently chasing Watford’s £10 million-rated frontman Troy Deeney to add to their current strike-force of Ulloa, David Nugent, Chris Wood and Jamie Vardy, though the steep asking price could prove a potential stumbling block.
With Algeria World Cup star Islam Slimani reported to be another target, Leicester are clearly on the lookout for some ambitions additions but, after romping to the Championship title in 2013-14, whether they will ultimately prove enough to prevent the squad from going straight back down remains to be seen.
Ulloa’s price tag certainly means there are weighty expectations on his shoulders for this season and, if he doesn’t get off to a hot start in 2014-15, then there will no doubt be more criticism coming Pearson’s way about the deal.