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Chelsea, Manchester United interested in poaching Leicester City's biggest talent

Unsurprising rumor is unsurprising.

Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri took over Leicester City in the summer and currently has them in a very lofty 3rd position in the Premier League table.  This affront to the traditional order clearly cannot stand, and it's only a matter of time before the big boys move in to poach the Foxes' stand-out performers, striker Jamie Vardy and midfielder Riyad Mahrez. Sure enough, according to Mercato 365, Chelsea are fully involved in the Mahrez sweepstakes.

Mahrez, who is also a Manchester United target according to the report, has made 11 appearances for Leicester City in the league this season, scoring 7 goals -- 2 from the penalty spot -- and recording 5 assists while playing as a right midfielder in Claudio Ranieri's 4-4-2 tactical scheme. Showing his versatility, the Algerian player has also been deployed as a left midfielder, a #10 and as a striker for his club and his national team.

Mahrez has one thing on his mind: push high up the pitch and make something happen.  He's just as likely to create for others as he is to create for himself, just as likely to do something smart and simple as he is to pull off an outrageous skill and leave defenders in his dust.  He plays with quite a bit of freedom in Leicester's system and he isn't shy of releasing long passes, through balls, or shots, as the situation calls for them.  He's a skilled dribbler, makes great runs, and draws lots of fouls.  He's clearly having the season of his life, rewarding Leicester City for taking a flier on him a couple years ago when they were still in the second division.

The big question, other than just how many tens of millions he'd command on the open market, is just how well Mahrez could translate his success to a team like Chelsea or Manchester United, who not only would provide more competition for him within the squad, but would generally face tougher defenses than the team that still everyone expects to collapse any second.

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