The 2015/16 PFA Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez, was desperate to leave Leicester City last summer and even went to so far as to hand in a transfer request to force the Foxes hand, but it would appear that either Arsene Wenger refused to meet Leicester’s valuation or he was still hoping to persuade Alexis Sanchez to extend his contract with Arsenal.
Now the brilliant Chilean looks certain to leave, either in January or the summer and it would appear that the new Foxes manager Claude Puel has now agreed to let the Algerian international leave if the right offer comes along. He was valued in the region of £40m in the summer and that now looks like a fair price for the 26 year-old winger.
The Man City boss Pep Guardiola has been hit be injuries to both Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne in the last week and it is highly likely that he will want to get Alexis to the Etihad sooner rather than later, after anticipating that would be happy to wait until the summer to bring him in on a Bosman transfer. Guardiola will be keen to carry on the Citizens unbeaten run in the Premier League and losing two of their biggest players is a big blow to their chances, especially with the Champions League set to restart next month as well. If they come in with a massive offer for Alexis, Arsenal could have an open position for Mahrez to fit straight in.
But today Puel has denied that he wants to sell Mahrez and the player himself has not reiterated his desire to leave. Puel was quoted as saying: ‘I have said I want to keep all my best players in the squad,’
‘Riyad is a valuable player to the team. ‘When I discuss things with him he has shown a good attitude, he is enjoying his football. He is a happy player. This is a good thing.
‘He likes to play with his team-mates. He has improved all his stats with assists and goals. It is all positive for him. I want to continue this work with all my best players, like Riyad.
‘No (hasn’t said he wants to leave). He is happy with the squad. After that, it is speculation.
‘For me, there is no problem. He is happy to play with his team-mates. He loves football.
‘In the transfer window, people can make speculation about players and transfers, but I am not worried because I like the player. ‘It is easy to speak with him and he likes the football and this is the most important thing.’
Mahrez definitely seems to be back to his best form and despite Puel’s words, we all know that everyone is available for the right price. Should Arsenal go all out for him and let Sanchez move to City?