Riyad Mahrez has handed in his transfer request at Leicester City, as a potential move to Premier League leaders Manchester City edges closer, following their £50 million bid for the Algerian international.
Mahrez joined Leicester City from French Ligue 2 side Le Havre in January 2014, after spending five years in France. He instantaneously became a regular figure in The Foxes starting line-up and played a key role in their promotion to the Premier League during his first half-season in the EFL Championship.
The 26-year-old scored only four goals during his debut season in the Premier League but exploded into life in their miraculous title winning campaign under Claudio Ranieri. He and Jamie Vardy formed an unstoppable attacking partnership scoring a combined total of 41 league goals.
Leicester City comfortably clinched the Premier League title by ten points, but faced an uphill battle of retaining their most prized players. Fortunately, French midfielder N’Golo Kante was their only major departure during the 2016 Summer Transfer Window but Vardy and Mahrez were also subject to numerous transfer rumours.
Instead, Mahrez signed a new four-year contract at Leicester City and inspired them to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals with four goals in nine appearances. He subsequently announced his intention to leave the King Power Stadium at the beginning of the current campaign. However, The Foxes rejected a bid from Serie A club AS Roma and he remained admirably professional and mature during the first half of the 2017/18 season.
He’s scored nine goals in 27 appearances in all competitions this season and showcased just why a full host of clubs are interested in purchasing his services. According to the Sky Sports, Manchester City have launched a £50 million bid for Riyad Mahrez, which has led to his decision to hand in his transfer request.
The story has gathered momentum throughout the evening since Riyad Mahrez handed in his transfer request at 5pm. Sky Sports sources suggest Leicester City are unwilling to sell Mahrez and that £50 million is far too low a valuation for the player. Reports also revealed that Mahrez did not appear at the Leicester City training ground today and he’s also not travelled to Merseyside ahead of their match against Everton on Wednesday.
How Does Riyad Mahrez Compare to his Potential Competitors at Manchester City?
Riyad Mahrez has averaged more passes than Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva per match this season. The result of this statistic is important due to the importance of passing in Pep Guardiola’s ‘tiki-taka’ style. Only Raheem Sterling has recorded more passes on average per match but he’s the most likely player to be ahead of Mahrez in the pecking order if the Algerian joins before deadline day.
Raheem Sterling has been in glistening form since the beginning of the 2017/18 season and has unarguably been the most improved player from last season. The England international has scored 14 Premier League goals and a total of 19 in all competitions.
Mahrez has started the majority of his appearances at Leicester City as a right midfielder but may have to make the transition to a left midfield role. Sterling is unlikely to be excluded from Manchester City’s starting eleven but Mahrez will at least have a potential six-week trial to prove his worth during Sane’s injury absence.
The German international is expected to be unavailable for the next six weeks, which means Mahrez will have to hit the ground running at the Etihad Stadium to convince Guardiola. Bernardo Silva has rarely started in the Premier League this season and has been used sparingly to make an impact from the bench.
Sane and Sterling have been the main players on the flanks this season but Mahrez has more Premier League appearances than both of them. Mahrez is unlikely to settle for a place on the bench, so the move could go one of two ways.
It could potentially cause a rift between the four players competing for only two places in the starting line-up or inspire them to perform to their highest level due to the competition in the squad. Leroy Sane is the only Manchester City player to have recorded more assists than Mahrez this season. The statistics look incredibly promising compared to his potential future teammates but it’ll all depend on how well he adapts to life in Manchester.