Football

Riyad Mahrez tried to leave Leicester on Deadline Day.

Leicester players have given Riyad Mahrez a hilarious nickname

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It's quite incredible that two summers on from winning the Premier League, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez are both still at Leicester.

When the Foxes stormed to their 5000/1 shock title triumph in May 2016, it was expected that there would be a player exodus.

N'Golo Kante moved to Chelsea in a £30million deal, and midfielder partner Danny Drinkwater has since followed him to Stamford Bridge.

It seemed inconceivable that Mahrez would stay after producing 17 goals and 11 assists in that campaign. The Algerian had caught the eye of a number of top European clubs, with Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham all heavily linked.

However, he agreed to a new deal and looked ready to commit his future to the East Midlands club.

All that has changed, of course, with the playmaker handing in a transfer request this summer. It's fair to say a move only didn't materialise because the Foxes priced him out of it - Roma were very keen indeed, before they were quoted £50million.

The former Le Havre midfielder then became embroiled in a bizarre situation on Deadline Day, when it was clear he was trying to move somewhere - but nobody knew where exactly.

Algeria gave him permission to leave their national camp so he could speak to a mystery club and he was spotted at a Paris airport. By the end of the day, he'd gone completely AWOL.

When a player makes it so apparent that they want to leave, it must be pretty awkward when they have to climb down and return to training.

Fortunately, Leicester's players chose not to shun their wantaway team-mate, instead coming up with a brilliant nickname for him.

What Leicester have called him 

“I was sitting at home and got a phone call from Jon [Rudkin, director of football] saying the Algerian FA had given Riyad permission to miss the game," Craig Shakespeare explained to the Telegraph.

Leicester City v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League

"It was a real knife-edge time and we were in the hands of other people. We understood he wanted to move because he’d made it clear but the owners wanted a realistic price.

“Dealing with that was another moment in the managerial experience. He came back to training after the window closed and we were calling him Tom Hanks out of The Terminal.”

Mahrez now has no choice but to get his head down and focus on the remainder of Leicester's season, at least until January.

Who should sign Mahrez if he leaves next summer? Have your say in the comments. 

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Topics:
Kasper Schmeichel
Football
Daniel Drinkwater
Leicester City

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