Riyad Mahrez: From a regular figure to a bench-warmer

Riyad Mahrez

From being an untouchable player to a bit-part player, that’s the best way to describe the effect of Riyad Mahrez’s decision to dump Leicester City for Manchester City in summer.

The 27-year-old joined Leicester City from French Ligue 2 side Le Havre in 2014 and he helped the Foxes gain promotion to the Premier League.

His stock continues to rise week after week due to his blistering performances for the team. The highlight of it all was his deadly partnership with Jamie Vardy which changed the status of the team from a relegation-threatened team to Premier League Champions in 2015-16 season.

Leicester’s title-winning campaign didn’t only changed the status of the club, but equally brought fame and recognition to the two deadly strikers and other members of the team.

As result of his impressive goalscoring form that season, the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United were reportedly linked with his signature prior to the start of 2016-17 season.

The King Power outfits successfully held on to his service having turned down every offer from all his suitors, despite Mahrez’s readiness to dump the team.

The same thing happened during last season’s winter transfer market, Manchester City were at the brink of capturing the Algerian star but Leicester City former manager Craig Shakespeare prevented any deal from materializing, much to the player’s disappointment.

After all transfer saga, Mahrez eventually confirmed his move to the Etihad stadium prior to the start of this season and the deal was said to have worth £60m.

Leicester City profited so much from the deal considering the fact that he was brought to the King Power stadium for just £4m five years ago.

The same can’t be said about the player who now sits on the substitute bench under Pep Guardiola. Having overseen more than 40 matches across all competitions this season, the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager has featured the Algerian star in just 28 games — seven starts.

Unlike his days with Leicester City where he was untouchable, Mahrez is currently behind in-form strikers — including Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, and Sergio Aguero — in the pecking order.

Kevin De Bruyne remains untouchable at Etihad stadium due to his workaholic nature and his trademark passes, hence, Mahrez has no place in the team’s midfield setup.

As much as playing for a big team brought him much fame, his decision to join the Cityzens in the previous summer window has so far turned out to be a regrettable one.

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Ibukun Italoye E

Ibukun Italoye E is a die-hard Manchester United fan who loves football with everything... I write, analyze and i watch football games.