What next for Riyad Mahrez?
Riyad Mahrez has refused to show up for training at Leicester City
In the summer of 2017, Riyad Mahrez handed in a transfer request amid a couple of bids from AS Roma and strong interest from Arsenal as reported by Goal. The Algerian Football Federation even allowed him to leave the national team and reach Europe to complete any transfer to an interested club. All this came to no avail as Roma failed to match Leicester's valuation and Wenger signed Lacazette. Reportedly he was angered at Leicester's stance and wanted them to lower their asking price in a bid to complete the transfer but ended up at Leicester.
He was allegedly promised by the club in 2016 to be allowed to leave in the following season. The club asked him to stay for another year as they had just sold Kante to Chelsea and Arsenal had activated Jamie Vardy's release clause. In the end, the club held onto both of them but Mahrez was not happy.
He started the 2017-18 season slowly but soon regained the talismanic form, which had helped Leicester win the title. But in the business end of January transfer window his head got turned by a big money bid from Manchester City and again handed in a transfer request. With little time to replace him and City falling short of Leicester's valuation, the transfer did not materialize. An angry Riyad Mahrez has not reported for training since the last day of the transfer window and has reportedly vowed never to play for them again.
Claude Puel has opened the door for his return to the first team in a public statement of support. But how will the Leicester players react to it is a different story altogether. The players are reportedly not happy with his behaviour and attitude and drafting such a player in the first team may have a disruptive effect in the dressing room.
A future move to Manchester City or any other big club in Europe appears on the cards as its looking more and more likely that his days at the King Power stadium are numbered. Here we look at clubs who could be interested in the winger in the summer transfer window:
#1 Manchester City
Goal revealed Manchester City had bid £60 million plus a player for Mahrez but could not meet Leicester's £100 million valuation. Pep Guardiola in an interview with Sky Sports hinted on a summer move for Mahrez. Their inability to sign Sanchez could make them go for the Algerian.
Jurgen Klopp is also a big admirer of Mahrez. With the money available from Coutinho's sale and the need to replace him with a proven Premier League star, this deal could work well for all parties.
Arsenal have joined the race to sign the Algerian winger as reported by Daily Star .Wenger is a huge admirer of Mahrez and could swoop in the summer but with a plethora of attacking talent at his disposal, there are slim chances of this move going through.
#4 AS Roma
AS Roma already had a couple of bids rejected for him last summer but could go for him again as they try to rebuild their squad. The only obstacle would be the huge transfer fees and his wages.