Over the past couple of years, Leicester have become a global favourite among gamblers the world over thanks to their odd-defying habit of snatching glory from nowhere. So far, the 2017/18 campaign has not been a happy one, and club officials are certain that at least part of the responsibility lies with FIFA blocking the registration of Portuguese midfielder Adrien Silva on a £25 million deal from Sporting Lisbon.
What went wrong
Silva’s signing was one of many that took place in the dying minutes on what proved to be the most frantic deadline day in history, with a total of £210 million changing hands. Or was it? According to FIFA, the deal was actually logged on their Transfer Matching System (TMS) 14 seconds after the transfer deadline.
As such, the team’s attempt to register their new signing was declined, even after Leicester provided forensic IT evidence, which allegedly confirmed that the necessary information was uploaded ahead of time.
Can they defy the odds again?
The nations bookmakers have been burned in the past by Leicester’s antics, and gamblers are optimistic they can generate another big pay day courtesy of the Midlands club. It is therefore interesting to look at the kind of odds being offered by some of the leading football betting sites in relation to their likely fortunes.
Even the most optimistic of Foxes fans will be forced to admit that the Premiership title is out of reach, and with one bookmaker offering 3000/1, it is fair to assume that the betting sites are confident that they will not be able to quite pull that one off again this year.
The relegation question is perhaps the more interesting one. At the end of the 2016 season, a number of enterprising gamblers were tempted by the 250/1 odds on offer that the Champions would next year be relegated, and at one point, it looked like happening. Today, with Leicester teetering on the brink, the 20/1 odds will look attractive to many.
On the whole, this signifies confidence among bookmakers that The Foxes will have a resurgence of sorts in the latter part of the season, and there is even money available on them securing a top ten finish. The question is, how much of an opportunity will Silva have to help them on their way?
What next in the Silva saga?
As things stand, Silva remains ineligible until the mid-season transfer window opens on 01 January 2018. However, Leicester have not ruled out the option of taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
A club statement read: “We maintain that all parties involved in Adrien’s transfer fulfilled their obligations, consistent with FIFA regulations and within the required timeframe.”
The player himself, meanwhile, is equally frustrated. Having spent time watching his almost-teammates from the stands, he has also worked with fitness coaches at the club’s training ground, but he is not permitted to train with the rest of the squad.
He has since returned to Portugal to spend time with his family while he waits for a resolution.