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Mahrez leaves Algeria squad to sort move, Barça chasing ace

Riyad Mahrez has been released by the Algerian FA to "finalise his transfer to a new club", with Barcelona joining Chelsea and Arsenal in pursuing the winger.
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Mahrez leaves Algeria squad to sort move, Barcelona after ace
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Leicester City's Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez has been allowed to return to Europe from international duty to "finalise his transfer to a new club", his country's FA has confirmed.

Mahrez has offers from Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League, but is now understood to also be weighing up a potential move to LaLiga giants Barcelona, who have stepped up their interest in the 26-year-old.

Diario AS has learned that Barça, who have until 23:59 CEST on Friday night to make signings, have made contact with the ex-Le Havre man for accelerated talks over a switch to the Camp Nou.

Mahrez was the PFA Player of the Year in Leicester's title-winning season.

Mahrez: Barcelona's plan B if Coutinho bid fails

However, the player has been told by Los Azulgranas that such a deal will only take place if they finally fail in their pursuit of Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho.

The cost of a move for Mahrez, who was instrumental in Leicester's shock Premier League title triumph in 2015/16, would be likely to reach around 50 million euros.

A left-footed attacker who tends to line up on the right, Mahrez's profile clashes with Leo Messi; but with time running out, Barça chief Josep Maria Bartomeu has been forced to turn to the Algerian as an alternative to Coutinho.