It’s been a full week since Riyad Mahrez went AWOL and Leicester City’s star winger appears set to continue his absence, though the Professional Footballers’ Association, the union which typically represents and defends players’ interests, has urged the two sides to come to a resolution “as soon as possible.”
Depending on how one chooses to interpret PFA chief Gordon Taylor’s recent comments (below), you could easily make the case that the PFA has taken the rare stance of siding with the club after Mahrez failed to report for training after a move to Manchester City failed to materialize on transfer deadline day, despite the fact the 26-year-old Algerian handed in an official transfer request.
Taylor says the PFA has offered to serve as a mediator between player and club, should Mahrez choose to come to the negotiating table — quotes from the BBC:
“If the issue needs us to help then the offer has been made. Leicester are looking to be patient and understanding.
“We hope the player will appreciate the situation as it is at the moment. The sooner this is sorted out the better for everyone.
“But sometimes these things can take a short time and other times a lot longer.”
Leicester, who signed Mahrez from French side Le Havre for just over $500,000 in January 2014, stand to wind up the biggest losers in the whole ordeal. At some point (almost certainly in the summer), Mahrez will get his move away from the King Power Stadium and he’ll find himself back in the Champions League, where a player of his caliber unquestionably belongs.
Not only will the Foxes lose arguably their best-ever player, but any negotiating power they might have once held, is long gone. If Mahrez simply refuses to make himself available for training and games, the situation is untenable for the club, and they’ll be forced to sell. Whereas Man City might have been willing to pay $85 million last month, that number will probably fall to somewhere nearer to $50 million in the summer, given recent developments.