Claude Puel has enjoyed a fairly encouraging start to his reign at Leicester City boss. The Frenchman has steadied the ship that was left rocking by the departure of Craig Shakespeare and has elevated the Foxes into the top eight, though results have taken a turn for the worst in recent weeks.
In order to sustain their push for the top-half finish, the former Premier League champions will have to navigate their way through the January transfer window unscathed. Interest in Riyad Mahrez is bound to rear its head in the next few weeks, and the future of the Algerian will be pivotal to Leicester's prospects during the business end of the campaign.
What they need
Leicester do not have many gaping holes in their squad at present, with the eventual arrival of midfielder Adrien Silva set to hand Puel another much-needed midfield option. The Portugal international agreed terms on a move from Sporting Lisbon in the summer but Leicester failed to register him in time, leaving him in football limbo for the first half of the campaign.
The right-back slot seems to be the position that is most in need of strengthening, with the ageing Danny Simpson set to be out for a considerable period of time, and the Leicester hierarchy have reportedly identified a replacement for the former Manchester United youth graduate.
Who could join
Silva will give new meaning to the tired 'like a new signing' cliche, but an actual January recruit may materialise in the form of Andre Almeida. The Benfica right-back has been heavily linked with a £9m move to the King Power Stadium, and the Foxes have also been credited with an interest in Sevilla star Steven N'Zonzi, who is also attracting attention from Everton and Arsenal.
Who could leave
Mahrez is an obvious candidate to seek pastures new in Leicester. The former Le Havre star made no secret of his desire to move on in the summer, but a move away never came to fruition despite interest from Roma, who failed to agree a fee with the former Premier League champions.
Arsenal have been continuously linked with a switch for the tricky playmaker, who has been in spellbinding form under Puel, but it remains to be seen if the Gunners or indeed any other interested party is willing to match Leicester's £50m price tag.
Mahrez is not the only Leicester forward whose future is uncertain heading into the winter window; forgotten man Ahmed Musa is likely to depart the Midlands in the coming months, but Puel has not decided what to do with the Nigeria international in January.
"I think it is not the moment to speak about the future or whether he can bring something to the squad, or whether he can leave in January," said Puel. "I don't know. For me he is a good player with quality. He is not a striker, he is a winger left or right.
"He can take space with good penetration. He is balanced with the other forwards. We have a lot of players in the same position and sometimes it is tough and difficult for them and the staff to make a choice and give them more game time, like Musa.
What has the manager said
"All we can say about the window is there will be speculation and I can't react about this speculation," Puel told the Leicester Mercury.
"My focus is to keep the good feeling within my squad. It is not possible to comment on the speculation.
"We will see if we can improve the squad of course. If there is some players who can come into the squad and give us good possibilities and a good level, they have to bring something for the squad.