This time last year, Leicester’s players were returning to the Premier League as defending champions and getting ready to launch the club’s first foray into the Champions League.

Twelve months later they are little more than afterthoughts in English soccer’s changing narrative.

The whirlwind of the last three years – an unlikely escape from relegation in 2014-15, winning the title at odds of 5,000-1 the following season, then reaching the Champions League quarterfinals – has given way to mundanity. Leicester is again in the shadows of the country’s top teams ahead of the new season.

Coach Craig Shakespeare spoke Wednesday of being “competitive” this season. He fielded questions on the potential departure of star winger Riyad Mahrez and midfield enforcer Danny Drinkwater.

It’s a dose of reality for a modest team from central England that produced one of English soccer’s greatest fairytales.

“The roller-coaster, the highs and lows,” Shakespeare said, “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

What will the latest chapter of the Leicester story bring? Consolidation, while hardly exciting, would be a good start.

Staying up used to be the club’s main target, but it can aim for better than that. Leicester recovered from a dreadful start to finish in 12th place last season in a year when playing in the Champions League was the clear priority.

Therefore the top 10 should be reachable, especially because the squad has been strengthened by the offseason signings of striker Kelechi Iheanacho from Manchester City, midfielder Vicente Iborra from Sevilla and center back Harry Maguire from Hull.

It hardly will match the thrill of a title chase, but for a club that was in the third tier as recently as 2009, the value of becoming an established Premier League team should not be overlooked.

“Premier League survival is good,” Shakespeare said, “but I look at the squad and players we’re trying to attract – I want to be better than that and I think the players want to be better than that.”