After a lengthy transfer saga stretching back to January, Riyad Mahrez has finally sealed an exit from Leicester City and the Foxes now need a replacement.
Earning £60 million from Mahrez’s move to Manchester City, as per BBC Sport, Leicester have cash to spend in the market and will need to set their sights high if they are to find an adequate replacement for the Premier League winner.
Since signing for Leicester in 2014, the Algeria international scored 42 goals in 158 league appearances for the Foxes and played a key part in the club’s shock Premier League success in 2015-16, scoring 17 goals and contributing 11 assists on his way to being crowned PFA Player of the Year.
That certainly leaves Leicester with a huge void to fill but the £60m fee they earned from the 27-year-old’s departure gives them plenty to spend – and these three players could be ideal replacements.
Florian Thauvin – Marseille
After a disastrous stint at Newcastle United, Florian Thauvin has excelled back in France with Marseille and is now a World Cup finalist following Les Bleus semi-final victory over Belgium on Tuesday evening – which could be the ideal end to a spectacular season.
The 25-year-old scored 22 goals and provided 17 assists in 35 Ligue 1 appearances last season, per Whoscored, while in Europe he found the net three times and contributed a further two assists in the club’s run to the Europa League final.
Thauvin’s impressive form has attracted plenty of attention, with Italian outlet StadioSport stating Arsenal are keen, but first-team football would be more regular with the Foxes and he could become a star for Claude Peul’s side.
Ryan Sessegnon – Fulham
One of the finest youth prospects within English football, Ryan Sessegnon caught the eye in Fulham’s promotion winning campaign last term after the versatile left-sided player pushed into a more attacking role for the Cottagers.
The 18-year-old’s tally of 16 goals and eight assists in the Championship brought back memories of Gareth Bale’s meteoric rise across London with Tottenham earlier in the decade, leading to widespread interest in the teenager’s services.
Arsenal, Manchester United and even Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with a move, although The Times has stated he will sign a new deal with Fulham. The Cottagers, understandably, want to keep the starlet for their return to the Premier League but the £60m Leicester received for Mahrez could allow the Foxes to make a move.
Denis Cheryshev – Villarreal
After years floating around Spanish football, spending time with Real Madrid and Valencia before sealing a permanent move to Villarreal in 2016, Denis Cheryshev finally showed his full potential at the World Cup with host nation Russia.
The 27-year-old netted four goals during Russia’s improbable run to the quarter-finals of the tournament, including a brace in the opening match against Saudi Arabia, double the amount he scored in LaLiga last season, according to Whoscored statistics.
Cheryshev now has to prove that his form in the World Cup was not just a purple patch and Villarreal may be tempted into a sale if Leicester propose a bid. While he may not be a long-term star for the Foxes, his arrival could allow Demarai Gray to continue his development before taking the reigns in the coming years.