The transfer of Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City is more significant than first meets the eye. Whilst Pep Guardiola’s side get a wonderful footballer added to their ranks, there are several more reasons to be happy about.
Mahrez becomes the most expensive Algerian, Arab and African footballer of all time as well as Man City’s record signing at £67million. But this is a huge move for football in Algeria.
It puts Algeria on the world footballing map once again, after a disastrous couple of years, and diverts the attention away from the mess that is the Algerian football federation.
Algerians have something to cheer for now. A star at a world class club that will be playing on the highest stage. Millions of Algerians around the world will tune in for Man City’s matches, and we will see plenty of flags at the Etihad.
This was the move that Algerian football needed. The big breakthrough that will encourage other clubs to consider buying Algerian footballers too.
For Mahrez himself, we get the chance to see just how good he is as he surrounds himself with far better players than he had whilst at Leicester City.
For the first time since Rabah Madjer at FC Porto, an Algerian footballer now has a real shot at winning the Champions League too. Mahrez did well to take Leicester to the quarter-finals.
We hope that the 27-year-old can blossom in a league where he has already established himself as a household name.