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Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez reportedly wants Barcelona to see him as the ideal replacement for Neymar, as well as a cost-effective alternative to Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho and Juventus ace Paulo Dybala.

However, the Blaugrana have turned down Mahrez’s attempts to convince them off his worth, per reports from Spain, as the Algeria international continues to be linked with a move to Serie A side AS Roma.

A report from Spanish publication Sport (h/t Football-Italia.net) detailed how “Mahrez sent out signals he is ready to join Barcelona as the replacement for Neymar.”

The gifted winger is said to have “offered himself to Barcelona after Roma’s bid hit €35 million.”

Football-Italia also wrote how “Mahrez is hoping Barcelona can consider him a useful—and affordable—alternative” to prime targets Coutinho and Dybala as they look to replace Neymar, who recently joined PSG in a world-record deal.

Mahrez reportedly wants Barca to see him as an alternative to Coutinho.

Mahrez reportedly wants Barca to see him as an alternative to Coutinho.Michael Regan/Getty Images

However, the mercurial 26-year-old appears set for disappointment, as Sport (h/t A.E. of Sport Witness) reported how Barca have “politely turned the approach down” from Mahrez and his entourage.

Such a refusal is a blow for Mahrez and a stance the Blaugrana may want to reconsider.

Mahrez wants to leave Leicester, but so far the Foxes have been unable to strike a deal with Roma. In fact, the team from the Italian capital is refusing to up their bid from £32 million, according to Gary Stonehouse of The Sun.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has also ruled out a move the dynamic wide man, per Goal’s Chris Myson.

Yet despite his struggles to get the move he wants, Mahrez still earned praise for the way he performed during Leicester’s 4-3 defeat at Arsenal in the opening game of the new Premier League season on Friday.

Mahrez has continued to play well for Leicester, despite wanting a move away.

Mahrez has continued to play well for Leicester, despite wanting a move away.Michael Regan/Getty Images

Mahrez was commended for his commitment and professional attitude at the Emirates Stadium by Steve Stammers of the Daily Mirror. In particular, Stammers highlighted a three-minute passage of play showcasing the quality Mahrez can bring to any team:

First he released Jamie Vardy with an exquisite through ball and it needed a Tony Adams-like tackle from Petr Cech to deny the Leicester frontman. In the 55th minute, Cech needed to be at his most agile to tip away a 20-yard effort from Mahrez. But Mahrez took the corner he had earned and put it on the head of Vardy and it was 3-2 to Leicester.”

Mahrez has the ability to make the grade at the Camp Nou. He boasts a wand of a left foot, terrific pace, spellbinding trickery and underrated vision.

It was just two seasons ago when Mahrez was crowned PFA Player of the Year after inspiring Leicester to the most unlikely title win in Premier League history. He scored 17 times and provided 11 assists during an historic campaign, per WhoScored.com.

While he wasn’t as effective last season, Mahrez still scored four times in the UEFA Champions League, helping Leicester reach the quarter-final during the Foxes’ maiden season in Europe’s top-tier club tournament.

Barca will likely find it tough to strike a deal for Coutinho.

Barca will likely find it tough to strike a deal for Coutinho.Boris Streubel/Getty Images

He would surely combine well with Barca’s star strikers Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

It’s not as if Barcelona have had much success tempting Coutinho or Dybala to La Liga. The former submitted a transfer request on Friday after a statement from Liverpool’s owners categorically ruled out a sale, per BBC Sport.

Meanwhile, Dybala has made it clear he is happy at Juventus, per Sam Green of The Sun.

Mahrez would cost Barca around £40 million, a relative bargain in what is a hugely inflated transfer market this summer. While he’s not the star name many fans of the club would crave, Mahrez is still a match-winner, one who would only improve when surrounded by better talent.



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