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Riyad Mahrez - Leicester

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Mahrez, a falling star

Riyad Mahrez, a past rising star, an actual falling star – was the most important piece of Leicester’s ‘15-’16 campaign which brought them the most wanted title of their history, the Premier League. In that season, his football form and skills have literally exploded.

His evolutions could not be left unnoticed by football game lovers and he was chosen as the best player of Premier League.

Nowadays, it’s kind of a must in the transfer windows to talk about the players that are showing remarkable skills. And in this case, we are talking about the best player of the champion team. So, the offers were not delayed.

When we last covered the topic of Mahrez wanting to leave Leicester City for a different club, preferably one engaged in European competitions, the team's reps had informed the press that no offers were yet on the table for the player.

In January 2016, Mahrez’s transfer value have risen from £4.5 million to £30.1 million, ranking him among the top 50 of the most valuables football players in Europe. The manager Claudio Ranieri described him as ‘priceless’ ahead of the winter transfer window.

Moreover, his homeland popularity led Leicester to have more fans in Algeria than in  the UK.

In the same year, he was one of four Leicester players that were named in the Professional Footballers’ Association Team of the Year in April and later that month, he won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award.

Mahrez became the first algerian football player who won a Premier League title after Leicester finished in the top of the league.

There have been many clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, etc. that wanted to transfer Mahrez. But after the first summer full of rumours about him, there was a switch in his life. He was disappointed to still be a Leicester player, despite the fact that he signed a new long-term contract with ‘The Foxes’.

The new season is unlikely to bring back the success of two years ago, with Leicester probably more than satisfied with a top half finish.

So the season came after the noisy summer, with everyone expecting more and more from him. He was also nominated for Ballon D’or in October 2016, finishing seventh and he won the BBC African Footballer of the Year award in December 2016.

However, he failed to show what everyone expected from him, especially concording with the big decline level of Leicester. But he helped the team’s arrival in the quarter-finals of the Uefa Champions League for the first time in history, scoring four goals and two assists. On May 6, he played his 100th Premier League game for Leicester, against Watford, on King Power Stadium, scoring a goal.

Despite all of the negative facts, he remained the best player of Leicester’s side.

At the end of the ‘16-’17 season he announced his wish to leave the club but the summer transfer window was a little bit quiet for Mahrez.  Following the announcement, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger stated his interest in signing Mahrez, and Italian side AS Roma had a bid for him rejected in July 2017. But their interest was present until the last days of the transfer window, without success.

In August 2017 he spoke about his focus on his future at Leicester,  despite his uncertain future at the club. On Wednesday, the 30th of August, the Algerian Football Federation reported that it allowed Mahrez to leave the national football team camp and travel quickly to Europe to complete his transfer to an interested club. An offer from Barcelona seemed to be in the cards for Mahrez placing him in the substitute position for Coutinho’s fail move. But again, the Deadline day is over and he is still a Leicester football player.

So.. What’s next for Riyad Mahrez in the new started season of English Premier League?

 

Author: Ciprian Enache (XFC staff)

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