Chelsea set to sign former PFA Player of the Year: Has Conte assured a second title in a row?

Transfer story

Chelsea look to have had some revival in the transfer market after agreeing a move for Torino’s full back Davide Zappacosta at last. The Italian manager now looks to add some more firepower to his attack as they look set to buy Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for a deal worth 45 million pounds.

The Algerian was earlier given permission by the national team to leave their camp so that he can formalize a deal away from his club. He has been linked with an exit away from Leicester City in this transfer window after enduring a tough time with them last season.

For the better part of the transfer window, it looked certain that Mahrez would join Italian club AS Roma. However, it looks like Mahrez wanted to stay in the Premier League itself and hence a move away to Chelsea looks imminent. Antonio Conte wants to add to his side some attacking options on the flanks and Riyad Mahrez looks a great deal for the Blues.

Player’s statistics

Riyad Mahrez, along with N’Golo Kanté and Jamie Vardy, was the chief architect behind Leicester City’s dream run in 2015/16. He was the PFA Player of the Season, which was a huge achievement as he was a relatively unknown figure before the start of that season. In that season, Mahrez had a wonderful run as he managed to don the club’s jersey 37 times.

Mahrez scored 17 goals and assisted 11 more in the Premier League. He was the driving force behind Leicester’s unstoppable run that season. In the 2015/16 season, he attempted 53 tackles and intercepted the balls on 38 occasions, which shows his workrate as well. His defensive contribution combined with a constant presence in the opposition’s box made him the best player in the League that season.

Compared to his standards, Mahrez had a completely difficult time last season. He managed to score only six goals in 36 appearances and assisted in three goals. These statistics were a huge drop from the extraordinary numbers he had managed a season ago.

His indifferent form meant that Leicester struggled too and posted a feeble challenge in the title defence.

How can Chelsea use him?

Though the deal looks exciting there are several questions which arise from it. Riyad Mahrez likes to play on the flanks and Chelsea already have many two options for the right wing. Eden Hazard is a permanent to play on the left wing and even Pedro impressed Conte with his performances in the right wing. Chelsea did not sell Willian, which means they will have three options for a single position. Though it is great for the club, Mahrez’s playing time looks set to be reduced.

He will have to fight for his place with players who are accustomed to the team’s playing style. A tougher challenge and he will have to sharpen his skills and prove his worth if he signs for Chelsea.

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