It was known to the whole footballing world that Riyad Mahrez handed in a dramatic transfer request at Leicester City at the end of the 2016/17 season.
It was a season where both Mahrez and the rest of the Leicester side struggled massively to recreate the form they showed in their unbelievable title-winning year. Interest from Arsenal and Roma hasn’t resulted in any serious bids, as the Foxes’ boss mentioned last week, but it still looks very much like he might leave before the end of August.
His work rate was something that frustrated a lot of Leicester supporters as they felt that he was not working hard enough to match his talent as the season progressed. Calls for young England under-21 winger, Demarai Gray were heard throughout the King Power Stadium but his minutes were limited.
This has since led to reports of other Premier League sides wanting to sign the 21-year-old. Gray has shown through several social media posts that he is excited to get started on the 2017/18 season as a Leicester City player.
If the decision is made for Mahrez to leave Leicester after his three-year spell, Demarai Gray certainly has the potential to fill the gap which would be left by the Algerian. He shares many attributes with the 2016 Ballon d’Or nominee and with a huge future ahead of him, he can become one of the best wingers in the world. However, if he doesn’t get enough chances to show this fantastic potential, he might also force a move away.
Every great winger needs either blistering pace or the ability to turn a defender inside and out and these two aspects define Gray’s playing style perfectly. Every single Foxes fan will tell you that they are left-right on the edge of their seat whenever the ex-Birmingham winger gets the ball with his lightning speed and tantalising close control. In this
In this respect, he will be able to replicate Mahrez’s quality if he gets the exposure to first-team football that he needs over the next couple of seasons.
One aspect of performance that needs massive improvement for Demarai Gray is his lack of end product when he actually gets past his man. Although his spectacular goal away at Manchester United would beg to differ, the one area of his game that has received criticism is his ability to create a chance or score a goal at the end of a spellbinding run. This is something that has vastly improved since his arrival at Leicester and will continue to improve.
One attribute that usually comes completely naturally is pace and this is something that Gray has got in abundance.
There is no doubt that with more first-team action in the Premier League, Demarai Gray can become the perfect replacement for the imminently departing Riyad Mahrez. But game time is vital and another season on the sidelines could see the Foxes lose one of England’s brightest young players. England fans will also enjoy seeing him play in the Premier League as he looks to earn his first senior England cap and Gareth Southgate could grant him this wish in the 2017/18 season if he impresses at club level.