Though Arsenal’s purchase of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the hottest topic of the deadline day in January, Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez did not want to be left out and came up with headlines of his own. Owing to interests from Manchester City and Liverpool, the Algerian winger decided to put in a transfer request, asking the Foxes to sell him before the deadline day.
It is understood that Leicester City wanted £80m for his services, a price Manchester City were unable to pay. Claude Puel’s side decided not to reduce his value and managed to retain him for the rest of the season.
This was not the first time that Mahrez was constantly linked with an exit but ended up staying back at King Power but this January seems to have pushed the winger to the edge, as he is yet to return to training after his transfer request was rejected.
The 26-year old is reportedly depressed after the move to the Etihad failed and has now missed four training sessions, including two games against Everton and Swansea. He is not expected to be a part of the squad that will take on Manchester City this weekend and though Mahrez may yet come back to training next week, it is reported that the Leicester City officials are not too impressed by the self-imposed strike from the former PFA Player of the Year.
Puel’s men failed to win both those games when Mahrez was absent and it is now important for the manager and the club to plan ahead, with or without the 26-year old.
Mahrez is one of the most important players at the club at the moment. His creativity and ability to make things happen, make him a genuine match winner and Leicester will certainly miss him against the league leaders later this week. But should they plan for life without Riyad?
At 26, Mahrez is still to hit his best form as a footballer. He has already won the English league title and is one of the most creative playmakers in the league at the moment. He can walk into most squads at the top of the table and will be almost impossible to replace when he leaves.
So it is no surprise that Leicester wanted him to stay until the end of the season. Algeria was knocked out of the qualifiers so Mahrez can stick it out and avoid playing for the Foxes for the rest of the season, which will be a huge disaster for the club, trying to cement their place in the top half of the table.
Attitude like this can only cause mayhem in the squad and disrupt the harmony so Leicester are better off planning for the rest of the season without the winger, who may face financial consequences if he decides not to play in Blue again this season.
Do you think the club should try and get Mahrez back to training or let him rot on the sidelines?
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