Reigning PFA Players’ Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez has committed his future to Leicester by signing a new deal with the Premier League champions.
The 25-year-old Algerian was a key figure in the Foxes’ unlikely run to the title, scoring on 17 occasions and registering 11 assists, and was expected to attract interest from elsewhere this summer.
However, like team-mate Jamie Vardy, Mahrez has penned fresh terms at the King Power Stadium by agreeing to a deal that runs until 2020.
One of the key factors for Leicester after winning the league was whether they could hang on to the men instrumental in delivering their success and although N’Golo Kante moved to Chelsea, both Vardy and Mahrez will be staying.
Arsenal, who saw Vardy turn them down during Euro 2016, were one of the clubs continually linked with Mahrez and they are likely to face both men in Saturday’s Premier League fixture at Leicester.
Earlier on Wednesday, quotes had emerged from Mahrez in which he had expressed a desire to remain in England while also revealing only “two or three clubs” could make him consider his future.
“It is a super league and I would like to stay here as long as possible,” he told France Football.
“Now, there are two or three clubs in the world, that if they come for me, it definitely makes you think, if you understand what I am trying to say.
“It (the Premier League) is the best league in the world, the most exciting, where there is the most at stake.
“There is also constantly a little uncertainty. Last year, we won the league. In Spain, you will never see Levante or Granada finishing top. In France, since the new PSG, it is the same.
“Same in Germany, with Bayern and Dortmund, or in Italy with Juventus. In the Premier League there is a greater depth of teams who can do it with City, Arsenal, United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool. They can all win it.”
Mahrez moved to Leicester in January 2014 from French side Le Havre when the Foxes were still in the Championship.
He scored just four times in his first top-flight season before developing into an integral part of Leicester’s team under Claudio Ranieri.
He opened his account for the new season with a penalty against Hull last Saturday when the champions suffered a surprising 2-1 reverse.
Meanwhile, West Ham’s £20m record signing Andre Ayew could be sidelined until Christmas with a thigh injury.
The Ghanaian striker lasted just 35 minutes of his debut against Chelsea on Monday before limping off. West Ham, currently in Romania ahead of their Europa League qualifier against Astra Giurgiu today, were awaiting the results of a scan on the injury.
But Jack Sullivan, the son of West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan, wrote on Twitter: “We are devastated that Ayew will be out for about 4 months. He needs surgery.”
The news will be a major blow for manager Slaven Bilic, who had spent all summer attempting to bolster his attack before finally landing Ayew last week. Bilic is already without another new signing, Sofiane Feghouli, through injury for the Astra clash along with Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini, although he hopes the latter will be available in a week or so.
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