Departures have not been uncommon at the King Power Stadium over the last few years. Players and managers alike have come and gone from Leicester City, including high-profile names such as N’Golo Kanté, Nigel Pearson and perhaps most notably Claudio Ranieri.

With the fairytale of last season well and truly over, Leicester fans have found themselves brought back down to Earth with a rather large thud. And just like how Ranieri’s “dream died” in February, Foxes fans’ hopes of keeping together their ‘dream team’ was crushed after the 2016 African Footballer of the Year and 2015/16 PFA Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez, handed in a transfer request on Tuesday afternoon.

'I truly hope they will understand and respect my decision'

In a statement, released on Tuesday, Mahrez wrote, "Out of the huge admiration and respect I hold for Leicester I wanted to be totally honest and transparent. I have informed the club that 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 that 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."

He further stated, "I've had the four best seasons of my career at Leicester and have loved every moment. I feel immense pride to have been a part of what we have achieved during my time at the club, culminating in becoming Premier League champions.

"The relationship I share with the club and our amazing fans are something I will treasure forever and I truly hope they will understand and respect my decision."

Where next?

Mahrez was a player in demand last season, yet Leicester still managed to hold on to the skillful Algerian. And despite failing to make many people's Team of the Year this season, Mahrez will no doubt again be in high demand.

However, despite the one-time FIFA Ballon d’Or nominee making it blatantly obvious he no longer wants to be at the East Midlands club, Leicester will not budge easily, stating that they will demand a “substantial” fee for Mahrez’s services.

There will be no shortage of suitors for the winger, and as recently as March he was linked with a move to Champions League Finalists Juventus.

The likelihood is that the African will leave the King Power in the summer, but where could the man, who has dazzled so many Premier League defenders in the past, go?


Les Monégasques currently lead the way in the betting odds to land the Algerian’s services. What with Bernardo Silva already on his way to Manchester City come July, and Kylian Mbappé and Thomas Lemar’s futures under intense scrutiny, Mahrez would certainly be a welcome addition to the Stade Louis II.

Born and raised in France, and a native French speaker, a return to his country of birth would certainly appeal to the winger. Mahrez’s previous spell at Le Havre and experience in Ligue 2 would also play into his hands. The Algerian certainly fits the criteria to join up with Leonardo Jardim’s squad, being renowned for his silky play and ability to play at high-speed.

Before his £425,000 transfer to Leicester City, Mahrez criticised the style of the French Leagues and the apparent negative style of play of the teams in them. Needless to say, a second crack at Champions League football would surely appeal to Leicester’s star man.


Mahrez is arguably the perfect Arsenal footballer. As he is a joy to watch on the ball, skillful, quick and graceful, he is everything that Arsène Wenger loves in a player. Arsenal’s wingers have failed to make an impact in recent seasons, with only Alexis Sanchez making real inroads for the Gunners.

Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alex Iwobi have all drifted in and out of form this season, and there is no question that the addition of last year’s Player of the Year would make a notable difference.

Whether or not a place in the Europa League would appeal to Mahrez more than a spot in Europe’s premier competition remains to be seen. A new 3-4-3 system that Wenger has invoked at the North London club also means that Arsenal’s wide players are required to do a lot more defensive work than before. This plays against the Algerian’s strengths and would surely nullify some of the impact he could have at the Emirates next season.

So this move is possible, but the move looks unlikely and significantly less appealing than Monaco’s Mediterranean coastline.


Arsenal’s fellow London rivals Chelsea will surely be keeping tabs on Mahrez. Many Blues fans will remember the night when the Algerian twisted and turned their defence inside out, making the likes of César Azpilicueta look bang average, and costing José Mourinho his job.

Chelsea already has an abundance of quality in the wide areas, which has led to even the Champions League and World Cup winning qualities of Pedro spending time on the bench this season. Mahrez has been used to being a key man at the King Power, and the prospect of playing a more bit-part role would be unappealing to such a talent.

Whether the newly crowned Champions would be prepared to fork out a big lump sum on the African Footballer of the Year remains to be seen, but the regaining of Champions League football would surely be an advantage should Chelsea decide to pursue Mahrez.

Tottenham Hotspur

The Spurs are another London side, another team in Champions League football. Spurs are undoubtedly big outsiders likely to sign the Foxes’ talisman.

Mahrez has had a glimpse of what playing in a young and exciting Tottenham team might be like, after the 6-1 defeat that Leicester suffered against Spurs just a few weeks ago.

In another nearly year for Spurs, the squad lacked real depth when it needed it most. Mahrez would no doubt bring extra quality to Mauricio Pochettino’s team, and help fill some 90,000 seats at Tottenham’s temporary Wembley home.

Moussa Sissoko has struggled to make a difference since his £30m move from Newcastle last summer, and Tottenham may well be tempted to go after the man who helped to deny them the title in Leicester’s miracle season. Mahrez will not come cheap and with Spurs moving into a new stadium in the very near future, they may be priced out of a deal by clubs with less financial burdens.

Atletico Madrid

Madrid is unlikely, but La Liga would certainly suit the type of player that Mahrez is. We have watched Lionel Messi weave effortlessly through defences, and when Mahrez gets going he’s not too bad either.

Atletico are extensive outsiders to sign Mahrez, with more pressing matters like keeping Antoine Griezmann in the Spanish capital. And with a transfer ban decision looming, Los Rojiblancos may need to occupy their time worrying about who they can keep, rather than who they can sign.

Manchester United

There is little surprise to Manchester United being linked with most players these days. With Ed Woodward set to commission a large spending spree for the Red Devils in the summer, there is no questioning that United could afford the Leicester talent.

But with links to James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale and Kylian Mbappé, Mahrez would surely be only a backup transfer target for Mourinho.

The Portuguese’s defensive style of play has frustrated many United fans this season, and the ‘Special One’ has regularly demanded his wide players to defend deep and work hard to protect the United goal. This is not something that Mahrez has been particularly keen to do, nor does he look like he has the appetite to change his signature style of play, to become a dogged battling wide player.

The Algerian would add quality, yes, but again he is not the player that United need or want.

Leicester City

Alternatively, and perhaps the most unlikely outcome of all, Mahrez could well end up staying in the East Midlands should Leicester refuse to accept a bid for the Algerian.

However, City’s owners will be all too mindful of creating another Dimitri Payet-esque situation which would be beneficial to neither player nor club.

Nonetheless, Mahrez owes a great degree of gratitude to Leicester and especially to the fans. Men, women and children who stood and cheered for him even when he wasn’t performing. There were fans who exulted his name with ecstasy as he bamboozled and tricked his way to lead Leicester City to their unlikeliest of triumphs.

Nothing is certain, but if he was to end up staying, then the King Power crowds would witness a third miracle: perhaps not as memorable as Andrea Bocelli’s Champions rendition, or the Champions League tie against Sevilla, but a miracle none the less.