Leicester's director of football hopes the club's progress will persuade stars to stay

Jon Rudkin has his fingers crossed that the Foxes' remarkable improvement both on and off the pitch will ensure their best players choose to stay put this summer

Leicester's director of football Jon Rudkin hopes the club's inspirational progress on and off the pitch will encourage their best players to remain at the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes, who were widely tipped for relegation at the start of the season, have defied the odds by battling their way to the top of the Premier League with just seven games to go.

And as a result of Leicester's magnificent efforts, speculation has been rife regarding the futures of some of their key performers such as Kasper Schmeichel, N'Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, who have all been linked with big moves away.

Rudkin, though, hopes the dramatic strides the club have taken since winning promotion from the Championship in 2014 will persuade them to stay.

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"You don't really know what to expect in the summer, but I think everyone can demonstrate where Leicester City is going as a football club," he told Goal after the Foxes were unveiled as participants in the International Champions Cup along with the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

"The foundation we are building on is a very bright one and I'm sure we will continue to build on that going into next season.

"It is a nice invitation for us to be invited to such a prestigious tournament and I think that's recognition to the hard work the players and football club have done this season.

"We are thoroughly looking forward to it and to play in the United States is a real added bonus for us."

Rudkin was also asked if the prospect of Champions League football and the English top flight's lucrative television contract could prompt Leicester to spend big to preserve their status near the top-flight summit.

"That's something - hopefully if we attain that position - for us to look at, but I think the squad has proven now that they have been able to compete at this level," he added.

"So we look forward to seeing where we finish and take stock of that in the summer.

"We set out at the beginning of the season our first objective was to retain Premier League status for the following season and once we attained that from Christmas we have really taken it game by game and looked to go as far as we can.

"We have got a number of good players that collectively worked very, very hard together and that unit of a group has really played a significant part of what we have achieved this season so far. 

"We have seven games remaining, a lot of hard work and a very difficult game against Southampton next. We are looking forward to it and look forward to seeing how far we can keep it going for."