Sunday, May 27, 2018

Will Riyad Mahrez ever recapture his form of season 2015/16?

Leicester’s Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez has asked the to leave the Foxes

Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez lit up the Premier League in season 2015/16 helping Leicester City to an extraordinary title victory.

However, just like his team, Mahrez’s performances went downhill in the next season.

The 26-year-old struggled to get anywhere near the form that won him the Player of the Year award in the previous campaign, scoring just six goals and producing three assists in the Premier League.

Following a disappointing campaign, Mahrez has now asked to leave the Foxes this summer. The club have stated he will only be sold for ‘a substantial fee’.

The question is will he ever recapture the sensational form of his one golden season in English football?

Could Mahrez be a one-season wonder?

England international striker Jamie Vardy was labelled a one-season wonder by many after struggling to hit form in season 2016/17. However, following a slow start to the campaign Vardy still produced 13 goals and five assists for the Foxes in the top-flight.

Again those are not exactly spectacular numbers, but Vardy has enjoyed a better season than Mahrez. Maybe it should be Mahrez that is labelled the one-season wonder?

His performances in previous campaigns would point to his stellar performances being the exception rather than the norm. In the two campaigns prior to his spectacular campaign, he had produced a grand total of seven goals and seven assists. To make it even less impressive, one of those campaigns was spent in the Championship.

When Leicester needed Mahrez to produce earlier in the season, the Algerian failed to shine. His influence on the team was next to zero, except in the Champions League. Mahrez produced four goals and two assists in Europe’s elite competition.

Talented but temperament

Mahrez has always had talent and technical ability. In most campaigns, the 26-year-old has shown his ability in flashes. He has just struggled for consistency for most of his Leicester career. The 2015/16 campaign was Mahrez at his best.

It showed that he can produce on a consistent basis, but he needs the right conditions and support to do so. Like many Leicester players, Mahrez enjoyed the season of his life during their title-winning campaign.

The momentum and the positive atmosphere swept everybody at the club along, including Mahrez. The negative atmosphere at the club for most the last campaign also engulfed the Algerian, who seems to be relatively temperament.

He does not come across as a bad guy, but he does not come across as the most mentally tough person either in his interviews. The winger is showing ambition by asking for a move. However, he will need to do more at his new club next season, whichever club that might be.

Mahrez in-demand this summer

Riyad Mahrez is a man in demand this summer. According to Sky Sports, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a big admirer of the winger. It has now been confirmed that Wenger has signed a new two-year deal with the Gunners.

The north London club were reported to be interested in signing Mahrez last summer when they also hoping to sign his club mate Vardy. Wenger will now no doubt already have had summer transfer targets in mind and Mahrez may well be one of those targets.

Arsenal are odds of 4/1 to sign Mahrez but are believed to be behind the likes of Monaco and Chelsea in the queue for the winger. Both the French and English champions can offer Champions League football in the new season, while the Gunners cannot.

Whoever signs the Leicester will have to pay a big fee to secure Mahrez’s signature. I hope I am wrong, but I fear that the Algerian will never again hit the heights of season 2015/16.

Will Riyad Mahrez ever recapture his form of season 2015/16?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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