Riyad Mahrez has been linked to each of the Premier League’s top six clubs during recent transfer windows but none have made an official bid for the 26-year-old attacker. In fact, if you believe reports, only Roma made bids for the Algerian during the summer window.
However, this might all change this month. Despite Jürgen Klopp’s denials, Liverpool are in the market for an attacker after Barcelona landed their top transfer target in Philippe Coutinho. He might not be top of their wish list, with reports claiming Thomas Lemar has been identified as the man to replace the Brazilian maestro.
Although available, it seems the Reds aren’t willing to move for the Frenchman this month.
A quick fix could be necessary and Mahrez would certainly tick the box. And if the Reds make a move it may convince other teams to rival Jürgen Klopp’s side for his signature. But they have a rival now in Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s men are in the market for a wide player after the injury to Leroy Sané.
“Riyad is a valuable player in this team.When I have discussed with him, he’s enjoying his football. He’s a happy player. This is a good thing.”
But what manager is going to tell the world he’d sell one of his star players? Money talks in football. But how much would it take to convince Leicester to sell their No.26? We’ve looked at his stats in an attempt to come up with a figure.
The graphic above shows Mahrez’s numbers since the start of the 2015/16 season. Many believe his form during the title-winning season was a one off and claim it can’t be repeated. That may be true, it’s unlikely he’ll be involved in 28 league goals every single year, but he’s on course to be involved in over 20 this season. Last season Leicester struggled but Mahrez still managed to score six and assist a further three.
Even when you ignore the 2015/16 season, the Algerian international is still averaging a combined 15 goals and assists per season. Furthermore, when looking at his expected goals and expected assists you see he’s performing roughly on par over the past two-and-a-half seasons.
He’s also been involved in a goal every other game – not a bad record over 7,000 minutes worth of top-flight football. And he did the business in the Champions League, involving himself in six goals in just nine matches.
Context is king, though. So how does Mahrez stack up when compared to Eden Hazard and Coutinho, both players are rated in the £100million bracket?
Over the same time period Hazard has 28 goals and 11 assists. Yes, he underperformed during the 2015/16 season but he’s still playing in a more expensive team with better players. This is a man being touted as a possible replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid yet Mahrez has been involved in a lot more goals.
It’s a similar story when he’s compared to Coutinho, too. The former Liverpool star was been involved in 47 league goals since the start of 2015/16, five fewer than Mahrez while playing in a rampant Klopp system. Mahrez takes penalties but even if you remove them Coutinho is only involved in two more goals.
Mahrez has a contract at the King Power stadium until 2020 and Leicester are now in a good position in the league. They don’t have to sell him and with the way the market is they’d be foolish to accept anything under £60million. Will any of the potential buyers go that high?