Riyad Mahrez in action with Stephen Ward
Forget the Jamie Vardy movie, the makers of Being John Malkovich should start planning a sequel.
Instead of a portal into the mind of a Hollywood actor, it would be a great idea if the protagonists tapped into the complex mind of a professional footballer – and Riyad Mahrez would be a perfect candidate.
Just what Mahrez is thinking right now as we head into what is expected to be another tumultuous transfer window is anyone’s guess?
A penny for your thoughts Riyad? I think it would cost a lot more than that. A fortune beyond even the enormous wealth of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
Mahrez was poorly advised in summer
There was no doubt about his mindset last summer. Poorly advised, he declared his intention to leave early on in the summer.
For what purpose that decision was taken, again who knows? It seems illogically to put Mahrez in a position where he was potentially alienating himself from the club and the supporters when there was no deal for him to leave on the table.
Then there was the transfer deadline day dash back from Algeria to sit in some airport terminal, like Tom Hanks’ character Viktor Navorski in the film The Terminal (there is a cinematic theme here) waiting for a transfer that never came.
That move, however, seemed more logical as he would have been caught on a long-haul flight for an international game and impossible to contact had a deal emerged at the last minute.
Mahrez was made to look a little foolish
But it did result in him looking a little foolish, and on his return his City team-mates certainly made the most of it with their dressing room banter.
Since then Mahrez had made all the right noises. He doesn’t speak publicly often, but when he has stopped to speak to reporters he has spoken about his love for City, his connection to the club having experienced so much at the King Power Stadium and has insisted he is settled.
However, then he made three moves which through everything back into the balance.
Firstly, and not surprisingly, it is understood he has changed his agent.
New advisor was behind Coutinho-Barca moves in summer
He is now understood to be working with Kia Joorabchian, who is described as an advisor rather than an agent, who was said to be behind Philippe Coutinho’s attempts to join Barcelona last summer.
The agent who was trying to get his move away from City last summer, Kamel Bengougam, has recently insisted that he still represents Mahrez. Awkward.
Then, last week, Mahrez gave an interview to the Daily Mail in which he again stated his desire to get ‘to the top’ of the game was strong, regardless of the bumper contract he has with City, which still has two-and-a-half years to run.
He also spoke of talks held with Arsenal and how he thought a deal was going to be done. I doubt that interview went down well with City.
Was blond haircut also a transfer clue?
Finally, he turned up for the game against Burnley last Saturday with a bleached blond haircut which made him stand-out even more on the pitch.
Was it tactical? It certainly led to plenty of attention and to a few newspaper references to his ‘blond ambition’.
His performances in recent weeks have certainly been more like those fantastic displays City fans saw two years ago when he was crowned PFA player of the year and was nominated for the Ballon d’Or award.
Claude Puel has spoken of his desire to ‘seduce’ Mahrez into wanting to stay at City.
Puel will try to persuade Mahrez to stay
With both being French speakers, it was hoped Puel could sweet talk him using the language of love, but the indications are Mahrez could be about to spurn his advances.
Puel says he hasn’t been given any indication by Mahrez that he still wants to leave, but he hasn’t said he wants to stay either.
Puel is currently using an interpreter to help him understand the journalists a little better during press conferences, but when it comes to dealing with Mahrez he might want to consider a mind reader.