In what ostensibly might seem like a surprising turn of events, Riyad Mahrez has withdrawn his transfer request to leave Leicester City.
The Algerian submitted the request back in January in an attempt to facilitate a move to Man City, but the deal fell through when the latter were unwilling to match the Foxes’ premium £95million valuation.
After a minor wobble, Mahrez has since returned to action for Leicester and has put in a string of perfectly decent performances, culminating in him officially withdrawing his plea to leave.
Talking to Sky Sports News, the 27-year-old said:
It has gone. It was in January, it’s now another transfer window. I am still here – I don’t want to put a lot of things in my head.
I am still in contract with Leicester so at the moment I am here and we will see.
At that time [January] I handed in a transfer request because I had offers from Manchester City, so obviously I wanted to go, but now I am still in Leicester.
With me, especially, you never know what is happening. Every time I have to go but I am still here.
I don’t really want to talk about [whether] I am going, or staying. I just want to finish the last three games.
We will see what will happen for me.
Now, call us cynics, but Pies wouldn’t be overly surprised if Mahrez – or moreover, his agent – has actually struck a bargain with Leicester that will render him complete free to move elsewhere for a reduced fee (say, a mere £45million) this summer should any suitable bids come in.
That way, Mahrez can withdraw his transfer request and in exchange quite probably re-entitle himself to a ‘loyalty bonus’ for sticking with the Foxes for a season longer than he initially planned, before he eventually ups and leaves.
Not that it’s always all about the money, of course…