If one was to happen upon a random football match taking place in a park where both teams were filled with industrious players, full of heart and desire yet little to no technical ability, one would hardly take notice for too long. If one were to suddenly glimpse from the corner of his eye one player take control of the ball, dazzle his way past all comers and then place the ball into the top corner with nonchalance, one would immediately state that player was a gem and needed to be taken out of his current situation and placed in better surroundings.
These are undeniable facts – yet for some almost puzzling reason, Riyad Mahrez is still a Leicester City player. Two seasons after dazzling the football world Leicester City, are still in possession of their most technically gifted player. N’golo Kanté was the first to leave. Danny Drinkwater followed Kante to Chelsea a year later. Hell, even Jamie Vardy had serious interest from Arsenal but ultimately turned them down to remain at the King Power. Mahrez? He’s been linked to moves away. We’ve heard whispers of interest from clubs far and wide. Yet, he’s still at the King Power.
Maybe it has to do with the price-tag Leicester have placed on his head? From what is alleged, his release would cost more than the aforementioned Kante and Drinkwater but even then, surely someone should have taken the risk? Maybe it’s because he loves Leicester too much to leave? (It’s not.) It surely can’t be because he isn’t good enough. He’s shown he has talent, so why has there been no higher platform?
A drop off was to be expected following Leicester’s miracle title win. Kanté leaving, new expectations, new found respect from opponents etc. would all impact on their title defense. Mahrez, like most of his teammates, struggled. But after Claudio Ranieri’s sacking, the Algerian bounced back and ended the season in decent enough form to put him in the shop window. Or not.
No one took the risk and he remained at the King Power. This season, however, has not seen a hamstrung Mahrez. He’s put in a number of notable performances and has been by far Leicester’s best player. As of right now, there are only two players in the EPL who have at least seven goals and seven assists and they are Mahrez and Leroy Sané (seven goals, nine assists).
As is customary of a transfer window, Mahrez has been linked to everyone and their uncle. Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, you name them, and there’s probably a story saying they want him. However, for now, there doesn’t seem to be any concrete chance of Mahrez moving away from the King Power and that is a shame.
That one special kid in the park full of averages continues to shine and now is the time for someone to finally take him out of his current situation and place him in better surroundings.