Riyad Mahrez transfer saga Options dwindle as City ponder renewed move


The FC crew discuss Riyad Mahrez’s transfer predicament at Leicester.
The FC crew discuss Riyad Mahrez’s transfer predicament at Leicester.
The FC crew discuss Riyad Mahrez’s transfer predicament at Leicester.

Riyad Mahrez saw a transfer deadline move to Manchester City fail as Leicester stood firm over their £95 million valuation of him — and then he refused to train.

Puel says Mahrez needs to get his head right but what’s next for Leicester’s mercurial talent? ESPN FC’s club correspondents have their say on whether their team should consider a summer move.


Pep Guardiola wants more options out wide to stretch opponents, particularly against tight, defensive teams, which is why Mahrez would be an ideal fit for Manchester City. His ability to beat a player and score goals from the wing would provide an alternative to Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sterling which City don’t have, and he has a proven quality to play on the quick counter-attack, which Guardiola’s side so often use to good effect. The biggest question mark would be whether he would be effective helping with the high press but the City boss clearly thought he was worth taking a risk on in the January transfer window and may rekindle interest in the summer. — Jonathan Smith


Mahrez is a good player who would add to most teams in the Premier League, but he is not what Manchester United need. Jose Mourinho has already said he is not looking to buy more attacking players after signing Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal. He has already got Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford to fill the wide roles. Mahrez is productive going forward, but it’s debatable whether he would fit into Mourinho’s system. Mourinho demands that his wide players work hard defensively — as Martial, in particular, has found out — and that is not the strongest part of Mahrez’s game. — Rob Dawson


Mahrez was touted as Philippe Coutinho’s replacement during the January window, but sources had told ESPN FC that there was no interest from Liverpool. In terms of his playing style and attributes, the Algerian would be a decent fit in Jurgen Klopp’s front three, which is currently looking light of options following Coutinho’s departure. But even if Liverpool were to view Mahrez as a stop-gap while prime are unavailable, Leicester’s eye-watering asking price for the 26-year-old would mean it’s a fair bet that any move would be a club-record transfer. With that in mind, it’s likely Liverpool will just continue to pursue their first-choice targets. — Glenn Price


Chelsea have struggled in attack this season. No one is sure yet if Alvaro Morata is physically and mentally capable of becoming a worthy successor to Diego Costa and, in terms of creation, it often falls upon Eden Hazard to provide all of the imagination in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 system. Conte is unlikely to still be at Stamford Bridge this summer, but Chelsea’s need for another player who can commit defenders and create for themselves and others will be just as urgent. Mahrez fits that bill perfectly, and already has great chemistry with former Leicester City teammates N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater. Wages are unlikely to be an issue for Chelsea, though Leicester’s valuation would be if they can’t be persuaded to compromise. — Liam Twomey

Riyad Mahrez’s long term future appears away from Leicester following his sustained attempts to move to Manchester City.


Of course Mahrez would fit at Tottenham. He’s a skilful, speedy match-winner who scores great goals, and that’s exactly the kind of player Mauricio Pochettino has been missing from Spurs’ front four for over two years. But the club has just signed one in Lucas Moura, leaving competition for places suddenly very healthy, and, if reports are to be believed, the Brazilian cost a mere £70 million less than Leicester’s asking price for Mahrez. As Pochettino is fond of saying nowadays, Spurs “sign opportunities” and at the Foxes’ valuation, Mahrez isn’t one. — Dan Kilpatrick


Before January, Mahrez looked like a decent option for the Gunners as a replacement for Sanchez. But with the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsene Wenger already has more attacking players than he can fit into his lineup. Arsenal need to focus on strengthening the defensive side of the squad this summer, and Mahrez simply doesn’t fit their needs at the moment. — Mattias Karen


Barcelona quickly knocked back suggestions they were in for Mahrez in the summer when he was rumoured to have been spotted at El Prat airport. That was before they had signed Coutinho, though, and even if a deal for the Algerian may have made sense then, it certainly doesn’t now. Ernesto Valverde already has his hands full trying to work Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele into his side, while Antoine Griezmann is a much more likely summer target.  — Sam Marsden


Predicting what might happen during the looming summer shake-up at Real Madrid is a mug’s game, but at the time of writing it seems very unlikely that the La Liga giants would move for Mahrez. He was mentioned in the local rumour mill during his spectacular 2015-16 with Leicester, but he has mostly slipped from notice now and the Algerian would not have the usual profile preferred by Bernabeu chief Florentino Perez, especially as his country will not be at the summer’s World Cup. Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar or Chelsea’s Hazard are much more likely targets for the next big Galactico signing. — Dermot Corrigan


Bayern president Uli Hoeness is keen for more German internationals at the club. That’s where the Bavarians’ transfer focus headed last summer with the additions of Niklas Sule, Serge Gnabry and Sebastian Rudy to their star-studded squad. And in January, Bayern beat keen competition from Premier League clubs and Barcelona to sign the hugely talented German midfielder Leon Goretzka from Schalke. Goretzka’s arrival in the summer adds another attacking midfielder to the mix, so Mahrez is simply not needed. Bayern will be looking to offload midfielders rather than sign them, with Arturo Vidal looking the most likely to depart in the summer. And even if there was a hole in the squad, Bayern are not renowned for signing players of dubious character, if all the mess surrounding Mahrez’s failed move to Guardiola’s Manchester City is to be believed. — Mark Lovell


As good a player as he is, there is no longer space for Mahrez at PSG. With Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar in the Ligue 1 leaders’ front three, there is no obvious starting berth for the Algeria international at Parc des Princes. A return to France could still be a good idea as there are a few stages in Ligue 1 bigger than his one in Leicester but Paris is no longer one of those options. — Jonathan Johnson

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