Riyad Mahrez is a good fit for Barcelona says former England manager Steve McClaren
With the January transfer window open, rumours about Riyad Mahrez have begun anew and Steve McClaren has given his take on it
Former Newcastle United and England manager Steve McClaren has added a little fuel to the fire involving Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez.
Mahrez has long been linked with a move away from the King Power Stadium, following the club's miraculous win of the Premier League title two seasons ago - a campaign that saw the Algerian score 17 league goals on his way to being named the PFA Player of the Year - and McClaren believes a move to a UEFA Champions' League club is due, while suggesting that La Liga giants Barcelona could be a good fit for Mahrez.
The 26-year-old failed to match the heights of his title-winning form last season but has regained that form in the current season. He has scored seven goals and has made seven assists in a number of impressive performances for the former Premier League champions.
The Algerian genius has again been linked with a move away from the Foxes, with clubs like A.S Roma, Arsenal and Barcelona rumored to be after him.
"Mahrez is a player who should be playing in the Champions League," McClaren was quoted as saying by The Express.
"He should be playing in a top four team. And I think this window will be his opportunity.
"I think Leicester did very well to keep him last summer. I think he’s delivered up until January.
"I think himself and his agent will now be looking at saying: ‘Okay, the next stage of his career, he needs to step up and go to the next level’."
From around mid-2016, this 'next level' for Mahrez has been seen in the form of a move to Barcelona and in May that year, the winger reinforced rumors of a move to Spain when he was captured wearing a Barcelona shirt.
Fast-forward to this year and following the sale of star player Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee of £198m, the Catalan club has money to spend in a bid to further improve their squad and McClaren believes Mahrez fits the profile of players the club normally recruit.
"The way Barcelona are at the present moment, no player is indispensable," he added.
"You look at Neymar moving for £200m and Barcelona have gone on and are top of the league and running away with it.
"I think the kind of players that they’re recruiting, Mahrez is currently up there with them because he’s got the mentality to do that, the intensity to do that.
"I don’t know [if he’ll go], but he’s definitely one that I think has seen his time out now at Leicester and should be looking at a Champions League club in this country or even abroad."
Whether the Algerian winger will indeed move away from the King Power Stadium remains to be seen, however, Leicester City will surely be braced for any outcome, as the Premier League club have already lost stars N'golo Kanté and Danny Drinkwater to Chelsea.