TICK TOCK, tick tock. Can you hear that Brendan Rodgers?
It's the sound of the clock counting down the days to Leicester's first game of the new season.
Five months since Rodgers declared the need for six new players to overhaul his ageing squad, he has yet to make a single signing.
With their opening fixture at home to Brentford now just 16 days away, Leicester have been neither shaken nor stirred this summer.
Worse still, word has got out around the rest of football that the Foxes need to sell before they can buy.
Which might explain why they haven't received a single bid for Youri Tielemans even though he is currently available for a bargain £30million .
Because Premier League rivals are happy to keep Leicester sweating until the final few days of the transfer window, confident that they will be forced to further slash their asking price rather than allow Belgian midfielder Tielemans to enter the final year of his contract.
For it seems that Leicester have been living beyond their means for the last few years, paying their players more than their annual turnover.
So now they are in danger of breaking Financial Fair Play rules and need to cut their costs before they can recruit the players Rodgers wants to make his team a force again.
Yet as the highly ambitious Northern Irishman spelled out in no uncertain terms last February: "I didn't come to Leicester just to go through the motions.
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"I came to challenge the clubs towards the top end of the league."
For his first two full seasons at the King Power, that's exactly what he did — winning the FA Cup, the Community Shield and twice finishing fifth in the league.
But after coming eighth last term it seems he will be relying on the creaking joints of Jamie Vardy, Jonny Evans and Kasper Schmeichel to keep Leicester competitive.
Even a £10m-a-year contract — which pays him more than Thomas Tuchel, Mikel Arteta and Erik ten Hag — may not be enough to keep him hanging around if he's just going to be making up the numbers.
The frustration for Rodgers is that he knows he has the basis of a more-than-decent team when everyone is fit and available.
Wesley Fofana, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Timothy Castagne, James Justin and Tielemans are all excellent players.
But without further investment, they are in danger of drifting towards mid-table mediocrity just six years after winning the Premier League title.
There's certainly no danger of them going down next season because there are plenty of teams poorer than Leicester who will be fighting to avoid relegation.
But as rallying cries go, "We're hoping for a top-ten finish," doesn't exactly stir the blood.
PEP CASHES UP
"STUPID English money" they used to call it… the inflated transfer fees European clubs pocketed when they flogged their players to Prem teams.
But now it's Manchester City who are cashing in on their domestic rivals' desperation.
City brought in Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips and are nearly £30m in profit.
It also emphasises how far ahead they are when they are happy to let their cast-offs move to so-called title contenders.
Pep Guardiola isn't worried about strengthening Chelsea and Arsenal at his team's expense.
BRAZEN Barcelona have set Robert Lewandowski's Nou Camp buy-out clause at a shocking £425million .
We know Barca have been trying to get to grips with football's biggest-ever debt.
How they could sign Lewandowski, Raphinha, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie while in the red is beyond us all.
But if they can sell Lewandowski, 33, for ten times what they have just paid Bayern Munich for him, can we please have their director of finance as our next chancellor?
EVERTON owner Farhad Moshiri says reports he wants to sell are just a big misunderstanding and insists he has no intention of leaving Goodison Park.
That's a blow for long-suffering fans who have seen Moshiri transform their club from European contenders to relegation candidates in six years.
Like a pound shop King Midas, everything he touches turns to s***.
He must be the first owner in football history to alienate the fanbase by spending too much money.
BALT FOR IT
COVERING the Arsenal vs Everton pre-season friendly, I was surprised to learn that Baltimore is known as 'Charm City'.
There was nothing charming about arriving to discover that my hotel had been shut down by police because it was an active murder scene.
And searching for slightly less homicidal accommodation in the city also known as 'the crime capital of America' was probably the fastest I have moved in 20 years.
GET A GRIP
SPRINT legend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce gave new meaning to keeping your hair on when she adjusted her wig mid-race at the World Athletics Champs.
The owner of the most famous sporting syrup since Antonio Conte still cruised through her 200 metres heat despite the mobile makeover.
No such luck for British sprinter Adam Gemili when he missed out on qualification in the men's 200m and immediately blamed the media for his failure.
Gemili was unhappy with the attention surrounding his American coach Rana Reider, an alleged wrong'un under investigation for sexual misconduct.
And apparently it was all that bad press which made him run so slowly.
Of course it was, Adam.
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