In the latest episode of As The Monchi Turns, Roma have not relented in their single minded pursuit of Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, the aforementioned champion we’ve been promised all summer. After being kindly rebuffed by the Foxes, the Wolves came back with a slightly improve offer, reportedly bumping their initial €23 million offer to somewhere in the neighborhood of €30 million, which was also shot down. With no love lost between these canine cousins, Monchi has been forced to go back to the drawing board.
According to sources in the Italian media, with the club staring down the barrel of a new season, and with Gregoire Defrel’s less than impressive debut on the right wing fresh in their memories, Monchi and friends are suddenly feeling the crunch and are prepping a newer, and even more improved, offer for the 26-year-old Mahrez.
These sources indicate Roma are willing to go as high as €40 million for Mahrez, though the exact formula for that (initial cost, bonuses etc.) remains to be seen. However, this upgraded offer, a €17 million improvement over their initial offer, may still be some €10 to €15 million shy of Leicester’s €50 million + valuation of their Algerian winger.
So, it doesn’t sound good, right? Perhaps, but feast your eyes on this:
Hmm, someone’s missing, aren’t they? Needless to say, Mahrez’s conspicuous absence from the always ballyhooed kit announcements didn’t go unnoticed, leaving many to speculate he’s got one foot out the door already, plus a couple extra toes, too. Of course, this could mean sweet FA, but why leave one of your best players out of such an important publicity shot if there isn’t something going on behind the scenes?
We may soon learn the truth, but in the meantime all we’re left to do is speculate and chew on what little scraps the clubs give us. Either way, Roma’s pursuit of Mahrez is, as we said, beginning to look awfully single minded. Is he really worth all this trouble, let alone €40 million? Are Roma setting themselves up for disappointment? After all, the longer they pursue this, other options may fall by the wayside.
Given the absurd figures we’ve seen bandied about this summer, that may ultimately prove to be a bargain, but with no other options being credibly, or least openly, pursued Mahrez and his suitability—and worthiness of that price tag—for Roma suddenly becomes open for scrutiny.
Mahrez would make Roma better, no doubt, but the longer this drags on, the higher the expectations become, and we’ve seen what the weight of expectations can do in the Eternal City. Just ask Commodus.