Mahrez to leave Foxes?

Arsenal and Spurs rumoured to be interested

Leicester Mercury

He is a rare, unique talent. But will Riyad Mahrez stay at Leicester City this summer?

How do you solve a problem like Riyad Mahrez?

Whoever is Leicester City manager next season, they are going to have to find an answer to that question after the mercurial Algerian appeared to open a door to a summer move away from the King Power Stadium.

In an interview with Sky Sports in the build-up to Leicester's trip to face Manchester City, Mahrez admitted for the first time that he initially wanted to leave the club last summer before agreeing a new bumper four-year contract.

The 26-year-old balanced out that revelation by stating he did not regret his decision to stay at City, but then followed that up by saying he wanted to "play Champions League every year, I want to be at a big club and win trophies, that's my target".

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Will he stay or will he go?

Riyad Mahrez has not had a great season. Across 33 league matches he's only managed six goals and four assists as Leicester meekly relinquished their crown.

The Algerian ace penned a new £100k-a-week deal last summer to remain at the club but his services are likely to be highly sought after this summer, with North London duo Arsenal and Spurs said to be leading the chase.

Being a champion turned out to be harder than Riyad Mahrez expected.

After an incredible season as the creative inspiration behind one of the greatest sporting stories ever told, you'd have thought he'd have spent the summer in a smiley daze; picking up awards, being routinely patted on the back by everyone he bumped into, writes Sky Sports.

The reality was a little different to that. Life became confusing. Big clubs, giant clubs were reportedly showing an interest.

"It was a weird summer for me because everyone was asking, 'Is he going here or there?'," says Mahrez, who was torn between loyalty to the miracle-makers and an opportunity he may never get again to join one of world football's finest.

"At first I wanted to go. When you do a season like I did, you start thinking, 'You have to take this train, maybe it won't come again'.

"There are big clubs, you don't know what's going to happen. Are they going to come back for you in two seasons or three seasons? You don't know."

Despite the fact he was not on a huge contract at the time and had just had the season of his life, no clubs came in for Mahrez.

Leicester struggled to get anywhere close to the form they'd shown just a few months earlier.

"When you start the league everyone is on you, I always had like three players on me," Mahrez said. "Last season, it could get switched to me and I would be one against one with the full back, now, never, no chance - three players on me is normal.

"We don't have a team of big, big players. Obviously, we have good players and a good team but when you have lots of big stars in your team, the opposition are not just going to focus on you, but this season it was like that for me and Vards."

A slow start became a relegation battle and a crisis which would eventually cost Claudio Ranieri his job.

The Algerian winger is expecting Leicester City to honour a promise to sell him. Arsenal are among the interested parties, along with north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, according to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph.

Law described an agreement between the Foxes and Mahrez to have the wide man stay for one more season after Leicester's stunning Premier League title win in 2016: "Mahrez believes that he has honoured his side of the bargain after giving Leicester another season following their Premier League title success, as former manager Claudio Ranieri requested."

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