Claudio Ranieri: Gokhan Inler can be Leicester’s Maradona

Inler joined Leicester after penning a three-year deal from Napoli, and Ranieri was not afraid of talking up his new man as he suggested the entire club could be rebuilt around him.

“We want to build our foundation and with a big foundation you can then build the first floor, second floor and everything. Inler is one of our foundations,” Ranieri said.

“I remember when nobody wanted to go to Naples. But after Maradona everyone wants to go to Naples.

“If we start to build maybe in three or four years a lot of players will want to come to Leicester. Why not?”

Maradona at Naples in 1987
Maradona at Naples in 1987 – From Official Website

It’s not the first time this week that Inler has been subjected to inflated comparisons: he was compared to Esteban Cambiasso.

Ranieri had been searching for a replacement for Cambiasso after the midfielder opted to leave at the end of his contract this summer and join Olympiacos.

But Switzerland captain Inler dismissed suggestions he is a direct replacement for the ex-Argentina international as he looks to make his mark at the Foxes.

He said: “This is a good question but for me the squad is important. I know what you said but first of all it is the team. I will give my best, give my quality to the team.

“When we win, we win together. When we lose, we lose together. It doesn’t matter whether I play like Esteban or not.

“My experience is different, I had also high level games. I also play in a national team with young players and my experience is good for the young players. I can show them how they are and how they can play. I will give my positive energy to them.”

Ranieri is yet to decide whether Inler will make his Premier League debut against Tottenham on Saturday but he has no fresh injury worries with only Matty James recovering from a long-term knee injury and Christian Fuchs expected to shake off an illness.

But the Italian is pleased to have wrapped up the Inler deal to clinch Leicester’s sixth summer signing.

He said: “It was very complicated but I wasn’t involved with all of the traffic. I spoke every day with Jon Rudkin (director of football) and he told me ‘don’t worry, he will arrive’ and I say the same to you.

“I spoke with Gokhan, I said to him ‘if you come here, you will go back young’. The spirit here, the unit, the staff, everybody around me is fantastic. I told him what happens here in Leicester.”