Former Leicester striker Kevin Phillips believes Ben Chilwell will leave the King Power Stadium this summer if Brendan Rodgers’ side don’t finish in the top-four.
Chilwell has impressed for Leicester this season at left-back and has been strongly linked with Chelsea ahead of the summer transfer window.
Manchester City and Manchester United have also been credited with an interest in the England international in the past, too.
The 23-year-old came through the ranks at the King Power Stadium and has spent his entire career at the club, scoring three goals in 33 appearances in all competitions this season, including a stunning goal against Watford last month.
Brendan Rodgers has previously stated that the Foxes have no intention on cashing in on their star left-back this summer but Phillips, who also worked with Chilwell while part of Nigel Pearson’s coaching staff at Leicester, thinks his hands may be tied if the club do not finish in the top-four.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, Phillips said: “He [Chilwell] was there as a youngster when we were there and we were monitoring him very closely and making sure he was being managed right, as we knew we had a gem on our hands.
“But, also, it has to come from the player; you have to listen, develop and have to live your life right and he certainly does that. He’s a very humble guy, very quiet but an awesome left-back.
“If Leicester weren’t to secure a top-four finish this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the big boys come in and pay big money for him, because he’d certainly fit in to any of those top-three or top-four sides. Credit to the player but also you have to give big credit to Brendan Rodgers for bringing him on as well.”
It has largely been another impressive season for Leicester on the pitch, with their fearless attacking brand of football attracting plenty of admirers, while also bringing the best out of Jamie Vardy and creator-in-chief James Maddison.
But they have struggled since football’s return behind closed doors, winning just two league games since the Premier League’s restart, and what previously seemed a forgone conclusion that Leicester would finish in the top-four now looks under threat.
That poor run of form means the Foxes have slipped out of the top four, below Chelsea and Manchester United, meaning only a win on the final day will guarantee their place in next season’s Champions League.
Coincidentally, that match is against Man United at the King Power, making it a straight shootout for the top-four, while Chelsea host Wolves at Stamford Bridge – all of it live on talkSPORT.
Such form has led many to question whether it would be a failure if Leicester finished outside the top four, but former striker Phillips doesn’t think that would be the case.
“Is it a failure? I’m not sure it would be a failure. They’d be very disappointed, of course,” he explained.
“It’s not just them but other clubs have done it [the same], but there’s been other clubs who have come back and performed even better, i.e Manchester United and Chelsea look really strong.
“I think they’ll be very disappointed. In a way, you could say it would be a failure but let’s not forget it is Manchester United and Chelsea and when you look at their squads player for player, I wouldn’t say they are far superior, but they’ve got two stronger squads than Leicester. It’s still not dead and buried but I think it would be more of a disappointment than a failure.
“Missing two key players, Ricardo Pereira has been excellent this season and [James] Maddison as well [who] brings that creativity [has been a blow].
“I know what it’s like there. The first season in the Premier League, when we eventually started winning games towards the end of the season to survive, that atmosphere in that ground was immense and that really drove the players on. I experienced it first-hand.
“Of course, you can’t use that as an excuse, as the players have to go out there and perform and do their job. I think a mixture of probably both has cost them a little bit.”