The Leicester City fans in the Transfer Tavern have been resigned to the fact that Riyad Mahrez will almost certainly depart the club this summer.
After more than 4 years with the Foxes, it seems certain that their Algerian ace will depart the King Power Stadium this summer, with Manchester City his most likely destination. Mahrez was the subject of a deadline day fiasco in January which served to illuminate his desire to leave the club for a top-four outfit, and he should finally get his wish this summer.
Leicester will want to ensure that they can replace Mahrez as quickly as possible, and recent reports from the Daily Mail suggest they are set to target one of Manchester City’s emerging young talents, namely Patrick Roberts (valued at £6.75 million by Transfermarkt). Like Mahrez, the 21-year-old right-winger is a left-footer who prefers to cut inside onto his favoured boot in order to influence proceedings, so he certainly represents an ideal like-for-like replacement.
With that in mind, Leicester should consider completing a swap deal for the two players this summer, along with a hefty transfer fee for Mahrez’s services of course. It would undoubtedly be a huge blow for Leicester to lose Mahrez, but if they can obtain a hefty transfer fee and a direct replacement as part of the same deal, they would be well-placed to enjoy a successful future despite his departure.
With pace, creativity, agility and guile to bring to the table, Roberts could become a fantastic player for Leicester in the long-term future, although he would need time to adapt to the Premier League after more than two years in Scotland.
Leicester have plenty of talent within their ranks to ensure that they would continue to compete for Europa League football in a post-Mahrez era, so they must be pragmatic and complete a shrewd swap deal when the Premier League champions inevitably come calling for the signature of their crown jewel this summer.
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