Claude Puel will take charge of his first training session as Leicester City manager on Friday with a glowing endorsement from Arsene Wenger after his surprise appointment.
The 2015-16 Premier League winners are convinced the Frenchman can guide them back into Europe. The 56-year-old is understood to have given Leicester’s board a highly detailed assessment of the squad, their strengths and weaknesses, to make a compelling case to become the successor to Craig Shakespeare.
Leicester also believe Puel’s track record in European football, established with Lille and Lyon in his homeland, aligned with his ability to develop young players, made him the top contender to lead the club into a new era.
He has already moved to bolster his backroom staff by appointing Pascal Plancque, who was his trusted deputy at his former club Southampton, to work alongside existing assistant manager Michael Appleton.
But Puel is unquestionably facing a battle to win over sceptical supporters and, perhaps, the dressing room, amid suggestions that he struggled to handle senior players at St Mary’s.
He was sacked by Southampton despite leading them to a League Cup final and a respectable eighth-placed finish in the league, but there remain doubts over his ability to deal with strong characters.