Riyad Mahrez says he wants to leave Leicester City for new challenge
LEICESTER, England (AP) Leicester could lose another of its Premier League title-winning stars from the 2015-16 season after Riyad Mahrez announced Tuesday his intention to leave the English club for a new challenge.
''I wanted to be totally honest and transparent with them,'' Mahrez said in a statement released by his management company, ''and have therefore informed the club that I feel now is the time for me to move on.''
The Algeria winger scored 17 goals for Leicester in its run to the Premier League title at preseason odds of 5,000-1. He was voted as English soccer's Player of the Year that season.
The 26-year-old Mahrez said he stayed at Leicester for another year to help the club in its transition from winning the title and to play in the Champions League, following talks with Leicester's chairman. He scored 10 goals in the season just ended but his form wasn't as consistent.
N'Golo Kante, another of Leicester's stars in its title-winning season, moved to Chelsea during the last offseason.
Mahrez will go down as one of the bargains of the Premier League era, having joined Leicester for a reported 400,000 pounds (now $510,000) from French club Le Havre in 2014. Just one year into a four-year deal, Leicester might expect a transfer fee of as much as 30 million pounds ($38.5 million) for the winger if he is sold.
''I feel immense pride to have been a part of what we have achieved during my time at the club, culminating in becoming Premier League champions,'' Mahrez said in the statement.