On the 11th January 2014, Leicester City Football Club changed forever with the signing of Riyad Mahrez, but the supporters were relatively underwhelmed by his arrival.
Coming from a relatively modest footballing background, Leicester signed Mahrez from Le Havre for a measly fee of just £450k.
More than four years later it’s fair to say that the Mahrez deal was one of the most, if not the most game-changing signing in their history.
Naturally, the supporters had almost no idea what to expect from the unknown Algerian and only a handful of fans praised the signing on Twitter.
And Leicester’s dodgy Photoshop effort certainly caught the eye of a few supporters…
— mark sperry (@marksperry2) January 11, 2014
— Dave hart (@daveburgerhart) January 14, 2014
— RETEP LLIH (@ghostof66) January 11, 2014
— Simon gray (@grayster84) January 11, 2014
— Dan Hunt (@HuntDan8) January 11, 2014
It’s no wonder the Leicester fans weren’t expecting too much from a £450k acquisition who didn’t even merit a proper introduction on the club’s Twitter page, but without him its unlikely that the Foxes would ever have come close to clinching the Premier League title in 2016.
Mahrez initially struggled to hit the ground running in the Premier League and his lightweight frame evoked plenty of questions about his ability to succeed in a notoriously physical English game.
He managed just 3 goals and 4 assists on his first full season, but he changed the landscape of English football and wrote himself into Leicester folklore the following season as the Foxes stormed to the most unlikely title victory.
Combining with Jamie Vardy in attack, Mahrez was simply unstoppable on the counter-attack and he notched 17 goals and 10 assists as Leicester finished top of the pile.
Mahrez has never quite managed to recapture the scintillating form which characterised everything that was positive about Leicester in their maiden title-winning season, but despite a slight dip he still earned a summer switch to Manchester City in July.
He may no longer be a Leicester player following a somewhat acrimonious departure, but Mahrez will forever remain in the hearts of Leicester supporters for his dazzling performances throughout a four and a half year spell.
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