Riyad Mahrez: where he could go and what he provides

Finally, transfer deadline day is upon us and boy is it set to be a good one. The futures of many top players are still undecided, none more so than Riyad Mahrez’s. The Algerian has been angling for a move since last summer and at the start of this window, the Algerian’s options were more than plentiful. Reportedly moves to Barcelona, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain were all on the cards but none of those materialised.

However, as of today, Riyad Mahrez has been given permission to leave the Algerian national training camp to negotiate a potential transfer. The BBC is now reporting that the 26-year old has flown to London via Paris to complete a deal. However, they also reveal that he is not in London to negotiate with Arsenal, that leaves only two other options; Tottenham or Chelsea.

It’s been Riyad Mahrez’s dream ever since winning the Premier League with Leicester City to recapture that glory. Finishing 12th in their title defence didn’t sit well with the Algerian and he has been aiming for a top 6 club since.

Here’s what Riyad Mahrez could provide for either Tottenham or Chelsea.

Mahrez to Tottenham?

Tottenham are one of the more tactically flexible teams in the Premier League, Mauricio Pochettino seamlessly switches between 4 at the back and 3 at the back when he sees fit. At Wembley, Riyad Mahrez would add another element of trickery to the Spurs attack.

Pochettino has got his energised team playing in a high-pressing system that forces opposing teams into mistakes. Mahrez would not be used to such an approach and would take time to adjust to Tottenham’s intensity.

Riyad Mahrez could either operate on either of the flanks as a winger or as a penetrative #10 behind Harry Kane. The Algerian has the skillset to beat players 1v1 with ease and he’s also able to create chances at will in the final third. Riyad Mahrez would probably replace Heung-Min Son on the right wing, allowing Christian Eriksen to continue to create from the left.

Mahrez to Chelsea?

Antonio Conte is pretty much set in his ways with his 3-4-3 system. This means that Riyad Mahrez could only operate as one of the two behind the striker. For that to happen, either Pedro or Willian would have to make way as Eden Hazard is a guaranteed starter. On the right, Mahrez would be able to cut in and create incisive chances. He’d also be a welcome asset on the counter attack as he’s a competent ball carrier in the middle third.

Riyad Mahrez provides Chelsea with the perfect balance in build-up play, as Victor Moses and Marcus Alonso provide width, the inside forwards Mahrez and Hazard would break down low-blocks through intricate link-up play and dribbling. As he’s on the market for just £40m, Mahrez offers Chelsea a cheap alternative to the likes of Thomas Lemar and Angel Di Maria.

The Riyad Mahrez saga will finally be settled today and it looks as though Leicester City won’t be accepting nothing less than £40m for the 2015/16 PFA Player of the Year.


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