Three Replacements For Riyad Mahrez Who Leicester Can Target
Riyad Mahrez has announced that he wants to leave Leicester City in the summer. The 26-year former PFA Player of the Year award winner was instrumental in the Foxes’ surprise Premier League title win in the 2015/16 campaign, but did not enjoy similar success this time around.
However, he has made it clear that he wants to move away from the King Power Stadium in the summer. Mahrez released a statement, in which he said (via Guardian):
“Out of the huge admiration and respect I hold for Leicester City I wanted to be totally honest and transparent with them and have therefore informed the club I feel now is the time for me to move on.
“I had a good discussion with the chairman last summer and we agreed at that time I would stay for another year in order to help the club as best as I could following the transition of winning the title and in the Champions League.
“However, I am fiercely ambitious and feel now is the time to move on to a new experience. I’ve always enjoyed a good relationship with the chairman and everyone at the club, and I hope I have been able to repay the faith shown to me by my performances and commitment on the pitch during my time here.”
With Mahrez making it clear in no uncertain terms that he wants a summer exit, Leicester will be left with no option but to sell him or risk having a very unhappy player in the ranks. And here are three replacements Leicester could look to sign to replace the Algerian.
The 25-year old Dutch winger has been impressing year after year in Russia with Spartak Moscow and was one of their best performers as they romped home to the league title this season. Promes finished the season with 12 goals and 10 assists from 26 league outings to continue his excellent run of form with the team since joining up in 2014.
Promes is fast, strong, very good on the ball and makes good runs off it. His goal-scoring and creating abilities from the flanks are clear from his returns. Someone who loves to cut inside from the left-flank and have a go at the goal from distance, while also being equally adept at laying off the ball for his teammates, the Dutchman will be a like-to-like replacement for Mahrez.
The Crystal Palace winger has been around the Premier League for quite a few years now, but hasn’t been able to hit the top gears as of yet. Though he appears settled at Crystal Palace, with a new manager expected to come in at Selhurst Park, things may change for Townsend and Leicester should look to capitalize on that.
The 25-year old finished the season with 3 goals and 7 assists for the Eagles from 40 games across all competitions. While the numbers may not be outstanding, it must be taken into consideration that Palace were struggling for long phases of the season. Townsend has the exposure and the experience in the Premier League, has proven himself time and again and could be the right man to replace Mahrez.
The 31-year old will be available for free after Manchester City announced that they will be releasing the player at the end of his contract next month. Leicester should definitely consider taking a gamble on him. He may have failed to set the stages alight during his stay at City, but he is someone who will bring in experience and winning mentality to the team, having been a part of trophy winning squads with both City and Spain.
Navas managed just 5 assists this season in 36 games across all competitions – only 19 games of which have been from the start. He is not someone who will get the team a lot of goals himself, but relies on his pace to stretch the defences wide with his touch-line hugging runs and then puts in the balls for the strikers to feed on. His numbers may not have been prolific, but the fact that he was finding form in the final few weeks of the season, combined with his wealth of experience and no transfer fees, should make him worthy of some consideration by the Foxes.