Finally, a transfer rumor that actually makes me excited about the offseason! According to Matt Law in the Telegraph, Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez is likely to get his wish to leave the King Power Stadium this summer and force a move to a bigger club.
Naturally, this puts a number of clubs on high alert, including Tottenham, Arsenal, Marseille, and Barcelona. According to Law, Spurs are in the market for a new wide attacker and could make a play for Mahrez, who could go for as much as 30m.
Here’s the interesting bit that I hadn’t remembered reading about earlier:
Spurs made an enquiry over Mahrez in the January transfer window and remain in the market for a player of his type, particularly as they face strong competition for Wilfired Zaha, who Crystal Palace are prepared to pay £110,000-a-week.
– Matt Law, The Telegraph
There have been reports that Mahrez strongly wanted to move last summer after Leicester won the Premier League, but then-manager Claudio Ranieri asked him to stay one more season for the title defense. With Ranieri gone and Leicester back to languishing mid-table, Mahrez has decided not to sign a new contract with the Foxes, which means Leicester could want to cash in on him now; his existing contract expires in 2020.
Mahrez has fallen off statistically from last season’s 18 goal, ten assist campaign, but he’s still sitting on 10 goals and seven assists this season, which isn’t too shabby. At 26, he’s older than the players Spurs targeted the past couple of seasons, but he’d be a pretty spectacular upgrade to Moussa Sissoko. He’s pretty much a perfect target for Tottenham: a proven Premier League performer with a good track record, but one that might scare off larger clubs due to his age and perceived declining form compared to last season.
Tottenham should be targeting players in their prime this summer as their young core ages up and the expectations for the club go higher and higher. Spurs can offer Champions League, an exciting brand of football, and a top manager whom players like to play for. Also, if Spurs are going to spend another £30m for an attacking midfielder, I’d much prefer it to be Mahrez than someone like Zaha, whose upside is higher than his actual performance.
This is one of those “Spurs re-enter the race for...” kind of rumors, and there’s nothing concrete at the moment linking Mahrez to Spurs. That said, it’s pretty clear he will likely be leaving Leicester this summer. I’d like nothing better than for Spurs to cash in on their current status as an attractive destination for top talent. Make it so!