The VIM: How Kelechi Iheanacho Can Spark Riyad Mahrez Stay at Leicester City

The VIM: How Kelechi Iheanacho Can Spark Riyad Mahrez Stay at Leicester City

Leicester City’s signing of Kelechi Iheanacho could turn out to work many good at the King Power Stadium and help them keep their most prized player, Riyad Mahrez, for a little while longer.

On Friday the duo were introduced by Craig Shakespeare in a pre season friendly against Borussia Mönchengladbach and it was an indication of perhaps the ingenious of the guys working behind the scenes at the former EPL champions.

Leicester City announced Iheanacho’s signing from Manchester City on Thursday after a lengthy negotiation process between the clubs and the player’s representatives.


Barely 24 hours after completing his move, the 20-year-old was thrown into the scheme of things at the club with his first appearance for the Foxes coming on Friday inside the King Power Stadium.

Kelechi Iheanacho

20-year-old Nigeria International, Kelechi Iheanacho signed a five-year deal with Leicester City | Credit: Leicester City

Shakespeare brought on the Nigerian as well as the Algerian midfielder, Riyad Mahrez in a double substitution and their impact was instantaneous.

It is that kind of partnership the Club will be hoping to secure Mahrez’s services beyond the 2017/18 season though the 26-year-old handed in a transfer request.

If Barcelona is still Mahrez’s favored destination, Neymar’s exit makes it convenient, as long as playing in La Liga is top on his priority.

For Iheanacho, the abrupt end to his anticipated rise at Man City and the opportunity to show he still deserves more than a shot – with City including a £50million buy-back in his contract – should fuel his desire.

Mahrez is a brilliant footballer, intelligent as they come and a bundle of skill.

On his day he can take on a whole defence line, score or create a goalscoring opportunity and light up a stadium.

It is this qualities that has seen him linked at some point with FC Barcelona and more recently AS Roma; who have had two bids for the player rejected by Leicester.

The Asian owners of the EPL club want to keep his services and are doing everything possible to actualize that.

Mahrez has spent four seasons at the club. He joined them from Le Havre in France when Leicester hustled as championship side.

He contributed three goals to their promotion to the English Premier League in his first season.

His best season as he continued to adapt to English football was the year Leicester won the Premier League title.

He also picked up several individual awards for the amazing performance that set the club on the way to an unprecedented league triumph.

The owners must have learnt from the departure of Midfield workhorse, N’golo Kante to Chelsea.

Leicester suffered the consequence of the French man’s transfer in the summer of 2016 and it took five difficult months to replace and fill the void with an okay option – Wilfred Ndidi.

Leicester do not only lack a player to replace Mahrez in the team, they also aren’t searching for one, so it makes logical sense to find him; like a child a necessary distraction, to make him stay put.

Iheanacho will; it appears, be that necessary distraction and he showed a glimpse of it on Friday night.

The two combined to set up Jamie Vardy for Leicester’s second goal and second only win – in 90 minutes – this pre season.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy

Credit: Leicester City

In Iheanacho, Leicester city have a player with an eye for goal, a creative talent who oozes confidence.

He seems to sync readily with equally skillful players even in the shortest time; as was the case with Alex Iwobi in the national team.

The Nigerian youngster can revive the spark for Mahrez if the Algerian indeed needs convincing to stay back for a couple more transfer windows.

Both have points to prove and next season is a good stage to do so with Leicester busied only with domestic competitions.

If Barcelona is still Mahrez’s favored destination, Neymar’s exit makes it convenient, as long as playing in La Liga is top on his priority.

For Iheanacho, the abrupt end to his anticipated rise at Man City and the opportunity to show he still deserves more than a shot – with City including a £50million buy-back in his contract – should fuel his desire.

So, in a way their futures if not fates are entwined and if Shakespeare or Leicester City realizes this, they could forge one of the League’s exciting attacking partnership – The VIM (Vardy, Iheanacho, Mahrez)?

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