After his deadline day dream move to Manchester City fell through, Riyad Mahrez seems more intent on leaving Leicester than ever before. The Algerian international was subject to a £60m bid, which was outrageously rejected by The Foxes, and as a result has gone on a self-imposed exile, missing three training sessions and two games.
Reports suggest Manchester City will reignite their interest when the window reopens, but its likely Pep will have found a more suitable solution to his relentless appetite for squad depth by then. It will also give Mahrez time to find an option that suits him, because Manchester City would not be a good fit for a man in the peak of his powers.
There’s no doubt Mahrez is a top drawer player, one of the very highest quality, who deserves a move to a top four club. His professionalism at Leicester has been excellent, despite the constant disappointment of big moves falling through, but it’s time he and Leicester parted company, and Chelsea are the club that Mahrez should be looking at.
Real Madrid remain extremely keen on Eden Hazard this summer, and with Willian and Pedro in and out of the team, Chelsea must surely be looking at creative reinforcements from the wing. Mahrez fits the bill perfectly. Chelsea’s playing style is not a million miles away from Leicester’s and with top class players around him, Mahrez will thrive, and most importantly, he’ll play every game.
Arsenal have been long term admirers of Mahrez, but despite countless opportunities to sign him, have repeatedly looked elsewhere. With the arrival of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan, it appears that ship has finally sailed. If Arsenal are to add attacking talents to their squad in the summer, it’s likely they look to youth, with Christian Pavon or Malcom most likely.
While Mahrez would increase the squad depth at Arsenal, he would not be guaranteed to play every week, and it’s unlikely he would be happy with this. At 27, Mahrez is keen to win as much as possible over the next few years, and will want to be a key figure in any successes, not a rotation option for Auba and Mkhi.
At Manchester City, Mahrez will face the same problem. He will face competition from Sterling and Sane, who are Guardiola’s first choice wingers, and with youth on their side, they are only going to get better. This would not be the case at Chelsea, where Mahrez would offer greater quality than Willian and Pedro, and become the star man alongside Hazard (if he stays).
With Mahrez determined to make a move happen, his agent should be knocking down the door at Chelsea, letting them know of his client’s availability, and making a summer move happen before the window opens and the prices skyrocket.