The Leicester City fans in the Transfer Tavern are hoping that they can keep Riyad Mahrez at the club beyond the January transfer window. But with nearly every big Premier League club searching for an attacking midfielder, Mahrez is inevitably being linked with moves away.
If Mahrez does leave, Claude Puel needs to bring in a top class attacking midfielder to improve Leicester’s options. Mahrez will be hard to replace but there are players out there who could fill his void.
Leicester should look at Xherdan Shaqiri if Mahrez leaves. The £16.2m-rated Swiss international could surely be tempted to move away from the Bet365 Stadium, if the club continues to show a lack of ambition. Stoke are currently in the bottom three and have hired an underwhelming manager in Paul Lambert.
Marko Arnautovic departed this summer to join West Ham as he believed the Irons had more ambition. Perhaps Shaqiri could do the same.
Leicester could offer him the prospect of fighting for European football and with Stoke looking like they are in a relegation battle and this could be a welcome escape for the Switzerland international. Shaqiri possesses plenty of natural flair and he is a similar player to Mahrez in that he is a left-footed winger who likes to play on the right and cut inside.
The diminutive midfielder has been linked with moves to the big clubs in the past and his next transfer could make or break him. Leicester would treat him well, he would get plenty of game time in a starring role and the 26-year-old is a good age to replace Mahrez.
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