At the start of this year’s preseason, the question hanging over Ranieri was not of repeating last season’s heroics but of Leicester City’s capability to hold on to their stars of last season. Of the influential trio of Jamie Vardy,N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez, Vardy stayed on while Kante moved to Chelsea.The future of Mahrez was the one left for the subject of discussion. At rumoured £45 million,is Mahrez worth the record? The Algerian was a standout performer among the assist makers in EPL, his heroics having helped Vardy enjoy his most prolific season in the top flight of English football.
And his exploits haven’t gone unnoticed. Throughout last season, the playmaker was linked to many clubs.Barcelona, PSG, Chelsea and Arsenal were rumoured to be in a race for his signature. While Barcelona have seemingly finished their transfer business, it was reported that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had lodged a bid of around £45 million, making him even more expensive than Mesut Ozil. The questions raised for such a bid make for an interesting observation.
While Ozil was heralded as a marquee signing, Mahrez cannot be labelled the same for Arsenal. Yes, he has had a fantastic season and deserves the accolades coming his way but the German midfielder was poached from a Real Madrid team that depended on his creativity in the attack. Cristiano Ronaldo was not left happy when Florentino Perez sanctioned his move to the Emirates Stadium. Since he caught the imagination of experts with his showings in the 2010 World Cup,Jose Mourinho moved quickly to secure his services. Mourinho’s faith was duly awarded with Ozil’s performances helping Ronaldo break one goalscoring record after another. He was more comfortable supplying goals than scoring them. At Arsenal, he was challenged by Wenger to improve this aspect of his game. Last season, the fans saw the
At rumoured £45 million,is Mahrez worth the record?
At Arsenal, he was challenged by Wenger to improve this aspect of his game. Last season, the fans saw the the best side of Ozil. He breached the double digit figures in the goals scored department. Had Olivier Giroud converted the chances Ozil created the PL trophy would’ve been lifted by Wenger and not Claudio Ranieri. Since the last three seasons, he may have been accused of going missing in some games but he has been consistent in his statistics. On the other hand, the last season was the first one in which Mahrez managed to shine through. His performances were terrific no doubt but it remains to be seen if he can repeat them season after season, something which Ozil has managed to do. Thus,the price tag is raising questions rather than answering them.
Thus,the price tag is raising questions rather than answering them. Similarly at Chelsea, the price is in the region which the Blues had paid for signing Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona. With the exception of last season, the Spaniard has enjoyed a prolific career in England. First at Arsenal, he was their main attacking threat, he created more chances than any of his peers and helped Arsene Wenger challenge for the title in spite of being shackled by the restricted finances at that time. At Barcelona, it can be argued that he was not given a settled role, a probable cause for his muted performances. His arrival in the summer 2014 with a hefty price tag didn’t raise eyebrows as it was paid for a player who had delivered time and again for his teams.
Another argument is the ability of Mahrez to slot in seamlessly in the Big Clubs. At Leicester, he was guaranteed a starting berth. Being entrusted with the task of creating goals, he was given his favoured left side in the wing and was handed out with a license to move forward. At Chelsea and Arsenal, that may not be the case. Antonio Conte’s teams are known for their stubborn defending as they are known for scoring goals. Arsenal have an array of attacking midfielders in their ranks and the arrival of Mahrez is not going to be a cause for much sheen than it is for making a big statement on the part of Wenger. His starting spot will be something he would have to fight for and the margins for error are miniscule too.
Riyad Mahrez’s arrival in any team will be a welcome addition to any team and will evoke cheer from the fans. Whether it would be equally beneficial for him is something to be pondered