The Premier League can't afford to let Riyad Mahrez depart this summer

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The Premier League has seen many great players come and go over recent seasons.

Thierry Henry was widely regarded as the league’s best player when he left for Barcelona in 2007. Then again in 2009, the Premier League lost its star player when Cristiano Ronaldo left for Real Madrid. A similar thing happened to Gareth Bale, who left in 2013, and not to mention Luis Suarez who left Liverpool for Barcelona in 2014.

It seems to be an ongoing trend, the best player leaves the league every year.


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The Premier League now has two stars being linked with moves abroad: Eden Hazard and Riyad Mahrez.

They are the last two PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award winners, and rightly so as their flair, touch and superb goals and assists have set the English game alight.

Right now, though, both are being linked with moves away from the league, to PSG and Real Madrid respectively, and the league is yet again in danger of losing one of its best players.

Hazard may have footballing or personal reasons to leave Chelsea for PSG. The club doesn’t play Champions League football next season, and the player, who grew up in France, could return to the league where he started off his career.

Alternatively, if Real Madrid came calling it would be a very hard move to turn down, but the Premier League would be losing an asset that is very hard to replace.

Chelsea should be doing everything in its power to keep Eden Hazard both happy and at the club for the next four or five seasons.

Mahrez would be better off being signed by one of the ‘big’ English clubs like Arsenal or Manchester United.

At either Manchester United or Arsenal, Mahrez would be guaranteed to get a game on the right-wing as neither team are particularly blessed there.

His game could go on to another level at either club, playing in front of bigger crowds every week, working with the best managers and best players the country has to offer him.

No player has ever left Leicester City and moved to Barcelona or Real Madrid before, although Mahrez could easily be the first.

It would be sad for the Premier League to lose its best talent again.

The Premier League has made Riyad Mahrez, so the player should really continue in this league.

Eden Hazard is a similar story: flair, touch, the occasional brilliance, the odd less-than-good game here and there, but if the Premier League wants to be known as the ‘best league in the world’ then it wouldn’t let its best players leave every season for La Liga or France's Ligue 1.

As happens with other great teams in Europe, see Bayern Munich, Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid, they sign players from their own leagues who have already proved it there.

The likes of Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze learned their trades in the Bundesliga before taking the plunge into even deeper waters after moving to FC Bayern.

Real Madrid’s great sides over the years consisted of players who had already plied their trade in La Liga at smaller clubs. Claude Makelele and Michel Salgado were both brought over from Celta Vigo, for example, and were turned into club legends in their time at the Bernabeu.

FC Barcelona signed Ivan Rakitic from Sevilla after he showed he could cut it in La Liga for a few seasons following a move from Germany.

Lest we forget Juventus signed Gianluigi Buffon from smaller club Parma and he's become the best goalkeeper in the club's history.

You don’t necessarily build great teams by importing all of your products. Some are already on your doorstep.

Mahrez has a few special ingredients that these two major English clubs desperately need: pace, creativity, and personality.

Either seems like a good fit, and Mahrez, who no doubt wants to taste the big-time, has no reason to stay with Leicester other than basic club and player loyalty.

He’s shown he can perform in the big games against the best teams, and he has something that other English clubs could benefit from.

These ‘big teams’ should take a leaf out of other giant European clubs and look on their doorsteps for their next signing, not further afield.

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Leicester City
Real Madrid
Premier League
Manchester United
Eden Hazard
Paris Saint-Germain

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