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Leicester Made Smart Decision With Mahrez

DATE: 09.02.2018 - THE CUNNING FOX - BLOG

 

The club managed to cling on to one of their prized assets, fending off interest from Manchester City for Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian was the subject of three bids from the Premier League leaders, but the offers from Pep Guardiola’s men failed to meet the valuation.

As a result, Claude Puel gets to keep one of his key men, although the 26-year-old has revealed that he has been made depressed by the inability to secure a move to the Etihad Stadium.

 

Mahrez has been continually linked with a move away from the Midlands outfit since his breakout campaign when he helped guide the Foxes to the Premier League crown. The 26-year-old has played an essential part of pulling the club away from the drop zone after their stuttering start to the term.

It’s a sign of the progress the Foxes have made in their time under Puel’s management that they are backed at 500/1 in the football betting odds to be relegated from the top flight.

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Source: Sky Sports News via Twitter


The Foxes have relied on Mahrez and Vardy for their success in the final third. Leicester have been active in the transfer market since winning the Premier League, but few of their big money transfers have hit.

Islam Slimani and Kelechi Iheanacho have both failed to force their way into selection, despite both being bought for fees surpassing the £25m mark. The former has since moved on loan to Newcastle United, highlighting the difficulties Leicester have endured finding a complement to Mahrez and Vardy.

 

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Shinji Okazaki has offered a semblance of relief for the duo, finding the net six times in the top flight. Demarai Gray has been up-and-down, but has still been a valuable contributor at times notching three goals over the course of the campaign.

His form has dipped since the turn of the year, which played a significant role in the Foxes’ decision to retain the services of the Algerian.

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Source: Indy Football via Twitter

Leicester were more-or-less in a no-win situation with Mahrez. Had they allowed the winger to leave, Puel’s options in the final third would be down to Vardy, Okazaki, Gray and Iheanacho.

It would have heaped a huge amount of pressure on Vardy to maintain a high level of form, with opposing teams focusing solely on stopping him through the middle.

 

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The 31-year-old has scored 11 goals in the Premier League and has played well, but could not be expected to carry the burden until the end of the campaign.

Puel also had little time to sign a replacement, with few options available so late in the transfer window. Leicester have not had a good history of significant investments in the market – therefore there would be no guarantee that any player attempting to fill the shoes of Mahrez would have the same impact of the Algerian until the end of the season.

Leicester still have plenty to play for and although they’re almost guaranteed to avoid the drop, the club will still be aiming to finish as high as possible in the Premier League. Therefore keeping Mahrez was the only option for Puel and the Foxes’ hierarchy.


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