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Premier League riches enabled Leicester to reject Man City’s Mahrez bid

RiyadMahrez - Cropped Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez (source: Getty Images)

The vast wealth in the Premier League meant Leicester City could afford to turn down Manchester City’s bid for Riyad Mahrez, according to a football finance expert.

On a hectic transfer deadline day, it was widely reported that the leaders had tabled a final offer of £65million plus a player for the Algeria international.

However, the move is said to have broken down amid suggestions Leicester were holding out for something closer to the region of £95m.

Mahrez was left out of the Foxes’ side for Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat at Everton, after which manager Claude Puel said the winger was “disappointed” not to conclude a switch, but that he would be welcomed back into the squad.

With the Premier League’s current broadcasting deal worth £5.14billion, gone are the days when the division’s smaller clubs were left with little option other than to see their most influential players depart for sides at the top end of the table. 

“I don’t think City would have been anywhere near a player like that had Leroy Sane not got injured,” sport finance specialist Dan Plumley told Omnisport.

“Leicester don’t need the money because the Premier League’s broadcasting fees are so high so they can turn it down as long as they’re in the Premier League.

“It gives scope for them to say ‘we’ll push the boundaries a little bit’. If the deal was around £75million we might have seen more willingness from Leicester.

“Clubs don’t have to say yes, they’re in a position to push a bit harder in the negotiations, but they also knew City needed to get it done quickly so there’s that time element there as well.”

Deadline day saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for £56m, while earlier in the window Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool after Barcelona splashed out a club-record €160m for his services.

And Plumley believes clubs are not perturbed by doing business across the continent and potentially strengthening their European rivals.

“Take Coutinho as an example. If it’s his dream to play for Barca you’ve got an issue there,” he said.

“Who would you rather sell to? A Premier League club who you’re directly competing against, or if a player wants to move abroad is that a better option to sell to a European club?

“Because, okay, you might end up playing them in the Champions League, but there’s less likelihood of coming up against that player.

“I don’t think Premier League clubs, particularly the top ones, will be massively concerned about where the money is going because most of those clubs are operating in the top 10 in Europe, they’ve got big revenues and can afford these wages and transfer fees.”

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