Is the Algerian bound for Barcelona? Perhaps not, but the winger is poised for bigger things if he continues his recent fine form
Transfer rumours that emerge immediately after the window has closed are notoriously superfluous, so Leicester supporters need not worry about Riyad Mahrez joining Barcelona just yet.
But while clearly gaining traction due to a lack of other worthwhile stories, the link did emphasise that the Foxes possess one of the Premier League’s most exciting players.
Mahrez has been sensational so far this season and one of the primary reasons that Claudio Ranieri’s side have eight points from four Premier League games.
The Algerian winger, who joined from French side Le Havre in January 2014, has scored four goals in as many matches this campaign – already equalling his total last season.
Three of those have come at the King Power Stadium and the East Midlands club will once again be looking to the 24-year-old to be the difference when hosting Aston Villa on Sunday.
The decision to replace Nigel Pearson with Ranieri was understandably greeted with scepticism, but the Italian deserves recognition – contrary to his ‘Tinkerman’ moniker – for maintaining the team spirit and belief that developed during Leicester’s remarkable escape from relegation last season.
The club have won six of their last eight matches at home and are 5/6 to claim another three points against Villa – a side they have lost only once to in nine top-flight matches.
How Tim Sherwood must yearn for the settled side enjoyed by his opposite number.
Last season’s beaten FA Cup finalists are a team in transition after losing a slew of their best players – which included Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar – during the summer.
It is no surprise, then, that Villa are struggling a little so far, winning just one of their first four matches.
That was on the opening day of the season at Bournemouth and the club are 100/30 to claim another win on the road.
If that is to happen, then Sherwood will be hopeful of coaxing another impressive performance out of the rejuvenated Scott Sinclair.
Sinclair, now a permanent signing after originally joining the club on loan, has scored five times in his last two matches following his hat-trick in the League Cup against Notts County to go with a brace in the 2-2 draw against Sunderland last time out.
It is pertinent to highlight the attacking talents of Mahrez and Sinclair considering neither side is particularly resolute when defending.
Leicester have scored and conceded in their last five league matches, while Villa have conceded 11 times in their last four.
It is 11/4 for the home team to win and both teams to score.
And those speculative whispers of a big-money move to the Spanish and European champions will probably get a little louder if it is Mahrez who proves to be the match-winner.