After losing influential midfielder N’Golo Kante and genius head of recruitment Steve Walsh who made the title possible, Leicester are set to lose their star player Riyad Mahrez as he turned down the offer of a new contract.
The 25-year-old Algerian midfielder scored 17 goals and made 11 assists in 2015-16 and was the main man behind Leicester’s title, and he has three years to run on a deal worth £35,000-a-week. The Foxes were willing to offer £80,000 to the midfield star but Mahrez now wants more for himself after seeing his team mate N’Golo Kante reject a contract offer and agree a £32m move to Chelsea.
Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri said on Thursday Mahrez would stay at the King Power same as Jamie Vardy, but it turns out that will not be the case. Mahrez instructed his agent Kamel Bengougam to actively look for a new club for the Algerian and it seems inevitable – Leicester will lose the best player.
That’s as far as facts go; let’s take a look at what the rumors say.
If you ask Mahrez what his dream destination would be, he’d say Barcelona, and he’s not hiding the fact that he’d like to play for the Spanish giants. However, Barcelona have no interest in signing Mahrez and sources say that he was never high on their wanted list and any contact was not initiated by them.
Chelsea, having already signed N’Golo Kante – and we announced it before everyone else did – are looking to launch a second raid on the King Power Stadium and bring two of the best Leicester players together, which would be quite a feat.
Manchester City are often mentioned as a possible destination for Mahrez, but truth be told, with Leroy Sane and Nolito arriving, it would be ludicrous to add yet another creative midfielder to the mix. Manchester City likely never saw Mahrez as a realistic target and looked elsewhere.
Arsenal are an option, but haven’t expressed that much of an interest. It’s the fans that are urging Arsene Wenger to sign the midfielder and finally add some real quality to the squad.
It seems Mahrez will stay in England, with Barcelona not interested in the player, and he will not stay at Leicester. Chelsea seem to be most interested and that could be Mahrez’s destination in the end. Mahrez is valued at £35m.