Algerian superstar Riyad Mahrez eventually got his wish. Manchester City purchased the winger from Leicester City for around £60m. Let’s examine which club has the better deal.
I understand the excitement Manchester City supporters around the globe are experiencing. An opportunity to witness Riyad Mahrez tear apart the Premier League – as he did to their defence on occasion.
Regardless of a possibly inflated price – which is actually in keeping with today’s market – the Citizens have a fine additional option. But Leicester City have rather a better side of the transfer.
It unsettles a squad not to release a high-profile, subversive, insubordinate want-away player. Unquestionably a club should receive close to their estimated value, but a compromise can always be reached.
Chairman of Leicester City Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha faced accusations of holding his player hostage. That is of course literally and figuratively nonsense. As a grown man, Mahrez signed a contract. Legally he was wrong to force any opposing deal. Not to mention on a personable, gentlemanly basis with his generous employer.
Why sign a four-year deal, then renege on it? Well, when signing extensions at rich clubs who value your contribution highly – one increases their bank balance considerably. Sorry for the cynicism.
In comparison to Shaqiri’s Liverpool switch, at a cost of £13m, Mahrez’s is astronomical. Partly due to a release clause in the former Stoke man’s agreement – a higher fee would be set if otherwise.
Though as we collate the Swiss against the Algerian: Mahrez involved himself in twice as many league goals as Shaqiri. Similar in position; not productivity.
When comparing Mahrez with Real Madrid target Eden Hazard, he has favourable stats once more. In the Premier League, since 2015/2016, in 109 premiership games Mahrez secured: 35 goals and 25 assists.
While Hazard has completed: 101 games, scoring 32 goals and assisting 13. Also noteworthy is the Belgian counterpart leading in dribbles with almost double attained.
Will Mahrez get playing time?
Man City’s options next campaign are frightening; if you’re a premiership defender. And especially if you’re a supporter of the remaining big-five clubs.
There is impeccable competition at the Etihad among attacking choices: Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and David Silva.
In his position, realistically, Mahrez is third choice. He may oust B. Silva. Yet after the imposing year Sterling had, the Englishman will be harder to remove. Although at 27, Mahrez is at optimum performance age. Any former PFA Player of the Year is magical. There is no denying that!
Despite his immaturity in attempting to breach his contract and belittle Leicester – the humble pleasure portrayed below, of his career defining time at King Power, seems legitimate. Including a moment of improbable sporting achievement, which the world cherished in 2016.
Leicester fan and former player Gary Lineker is complimentary and incredibly diplomatic not to refer to the upheaval or potential unrest Mahrez spread at the King Power. It was poignant to see him celebrate his deserved move with his mother. Despite the draining process of discontentment being slightly disappointing to some.
Readable journalist at the Independent Jonathan Liew says, essentially, the 27-year-old is competent yet surplus to requirements at the Sky Blues.
A transfer that impressed the ever popular Fantasy Premier League.
Hailed as a great addition to the Citizens’ squad. But inferior to Chelsea’s buy or Manchester United’s?
Some found the move uninspiring.
Evaluating the mercurial
Actually the consensus from Twitter’s top posts surprised me a little: the majority are positive about the move – notwithstanding pro-City bias in either camp. When analysing his statistics and watching him in person, it is clear Mahrez is top quality. It is a shame he may not feature further than a second reserve substitute.
Injuries, suspensions or lack of form may gift Mahrez an opening to realise his opportunity. However dislodging City’s returning champions is a daunting challenge.
Leicester build for the future
With the addition of James Maddison, the Midland club have another possible gem. His estimated £25m price-tag is reflective of incredible form – click here for an illustration. A versatile attacking midfielder. One who expresses himself on the pitch similarly – in a central position – to Mahrez.
Whether Maddison can maintain form at elite level is a question which will be definitively answered – by this time next year. Through investment in scouting and an under construction state of the art training facility, the Foxes can definitely find or produce another Riyad Mahrez in the near future.
Maybe they will cultivate multiple players of that talent. Even producing a player one half as good as the departing winger, is promising.
When analysing profits gained by the Foxes in addition to their accomplishments, it is clear they are monumentally successful over two years. N’golo Kante brought in around £27m extra. Danny Drinkwater made them £34m.
The Mahrez fee will amount to roughly £59.5m profit. Those figures, in particular the gain from Mahrez, create my rationale: his transfer is better for Leicester.
Investment in the new training ground is extensive; costing in the region of £80m. So in effect, Mahrez funded three-quarters of the new facility. While majorly helping: Jamie Vardy, Kante, Kasper Schmeichel et al, win a Premier League title and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Leicester have pressing business
Telegraph’s John Percy indicated the Foxes are tying up Wilfred Ndidi, Vardy and Marry Maguire in fresh deals. Three vital elements of the club’s longevity in the league and future progression.
"“Maguire, Vardy & Ndidi to continue new contract talks after the World Cup. LCFC [are] determined to keep their key players after Mahrez sale” – John Percy (Via Twitter)"
Once again, regardless of endearing comments regarding the club, it appears Mahrez could not resist one final jab. While departing the club which gave him his chance at the big-time. Saying, as per Sky Sports: “[Harry Maguire] deserves to play higher.”
Isolated with no defender
Would the Manchester City faithful respond favourably for that type of insult? How about a hypothetical advocating of, for example: Kevin De Bruyne leaving the Etihad?
The fans on the blue side of Manchester will find no middle ground with the polarising new addition. Mahrez will either leave them with a Kante sized smile, or a Phil Jones-style calamitous gurn.
A bit part is the highest expectation; despite Pep Guardiola highly rating Mahrez. Guardiola won’t rotate his favoured XI for crucial matches in Europe or Premier League rivals. Occasionally in some competitions there is disruption of his main lineup.
Ultimately, Mahrez’s satisfaction may diminish after a season or two – if he is not an established feature. I envisage an eventual move to France – maybe PSG. Only if Kylian Mbappe or Neymar vacate a spot.