LONDON, United Kingdom, May 31 – Premier League winner Riyad Mahrez has informed Leicester of his wish to leave the club as he feels the time has come to take the next step in his career.
The Algeria international was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal at the end of last season after playing a starring role in the Foxes’ title triumph.
However, Mahrez decided to stay put at the time out of loyalty to the East Midlands outfit, who brought him to England from Le Havre in France’s Ligue 2.
The 26-year-old winger failed to reproduce the form that saw him win numerous accolades in 2016/17, his struggles paralleling the team’s as they flirted with relegation at one point which led to Claudio Ranieri being sacked as manager in February.
The Gunners have maintained an interest in the African Footballer of the Year, and he is ready to move on after vowing to remain at the King Power Stadium for 2016/17.
“Out of the huge admiration and respect I hold for Leicester City Football Club I wanted to be totally honest and transparent with them and have therefore informed the club that I feel now is the time for me to move on,” Mahrez said.
“I had a good discussion with the chairman last summer and we agreed at that time that I would stay for another year in order to help the club as best as I could following the transition of winning the title and in the Champions League.
“However, I am fiercely ambitious and feel that now is the time to move on to a new experience.
“I’ve always enjoyed a good relationship with the chairman and everyone at the club, and I hope I have been able to repay the faith shown to me by my performances and commitment on the pitch during my time here.
“I’ve had the four best seasons of my career at Leicester and have loved every moment. 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.
“The relationship I share with the club and our amazing fans is something I will treasure forever and I truly hope they will understand and respect my decision.”