Replacing Riyad Mahrez was always going to be too expensive for Leicester City, Claude Puel has admitted.
There were calls from the fans for the club to go out and make a big marquee signing with the £60 million that they got from Manchester City for Mahrez.
Leicester were linked with a number of players like Borussia Monchengladbach’s Thorgan Hazard and West Ham United’s Felipe Anderson (signed from Lazio), but they eventually settled for Rachid Ghezzal as their new right winger.
They also brought in James Maddison from Norwich City earlier in the transfer window to make sure that there is no lack of creativity now that the Algerian’s gone.
Leicester’s way of replacing Mahrez may have not pleased all the fans, but it is what Puel thinks is going to serve his side the best.
"“We lost Riyad and we cannot replace him with his quality,” said Puel.“And about the price also because it’s too expensive to buy this player.“It was important to give those attributes for the squad and to share the responsibility in the team.“Not just Maddison, but for the future it will be also Ghezzal or different players.“We try to give good additions for the squad with different talented players and we will see this in the next games.“For the first game, the players that came in the transfer window played well, and it’s encouraging for the next games.”"
Ghezzal and Maddison have both cost Leicester a combined £30 million, an amount that, as has been often said, may not get you Jack Grealish’s left foot. Shall the gamble pay off, it could go down as another instance where the East Midlanders once again bossed the transfer market.
The early signs are good, particularly with Maddison. He was Leicester’s best player against Manchester United on Friday, providing the same zeal and creativity from the middle that Mahrez used to provide week in and week out.
Ghezzal had a little cameo as well, though it’s clear from his first appearance that he’d need time to adapt to the Premier League, having spent all his career in Ligue 1.