@Football365

Football’s fourth age: It’s all about who you know…

9 months ago, 17 Jan 11:30

By: Daniel Storey

In July 2017, Leicester City made it clear that they were willing to accept a bid of £50m for winger Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez was a Premier League title winner, PFA Player of the Year and African Player of the Year. He was at a non-elite club. He was 26. Roma came closest to signing him as a replacement for Mohamed Salah, but the price was deemed too high. There were no takers. In hindsight, that seems extraordinary. Chelsea paid £35m for Mahrez’s teammate Danny Drinkwater, a useful player but hardly a star. We have become accustomed to attacking players commanding a premium, and so too Premier League players. Here was a proven success in the middle of that Venn diagram and…nothing. Last month, the Leicester Mercury’s James Sharpe made the same point as he reacted to Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona from Liverpool. Since the start of 2015/16, Mahrez had scored 30 goals and registered 21 assists in the Premier League. Coutinho had 28 and 18. There is a 16-month age gap between the two players but the £90m difference in valuation is still difficult to appreciate. If it comes down to simple supply and demand, where was the demand for Mahrez? This week, Claude Puel talked up Mahrez’s potential price tag with rumours circling about interest from elite clubs. “Perhaps in the summer he will cost even more than £100m,” Puel said, but the false optimism was a little too transparent. Another year older and with another year of his contract run down, that fee would seem well out of reach.  There are a number of hypotheses about Mahrez’s continued stay at Leicester, but one that seems particularly attractive concerns Kamel Bengougam, whose name you may now be reading for the first time. And yet it is Bengougam who has his future in his hands. Bengougam is Mahrez’s agent. Information on Bengougam is thin on the ground. There is a LinkedIn page which confirms that he works for an agency called ‘bk tizimanagement’, although they are called ‘BKS’ elsewhere. There is a Facebook profile too, which briefly gained attention after Bengougam posted an image of himself watching Lens vs Arsenal. Finally, there is a profile on The Players’ Agent website – which lists a phone number that doesn’t work – and Elite Football. On the latter, Bengougam is listed as the agent of Marcus Coco of FC Guingamp and Cedric Si Mohammed, who currently plays for the team second bottom of the Algerian league. You wonder where Mahrez might be now if his agent was Mino Raiola. The Italian-Dutch super-agent is again in the news for negotiating Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s exit from Manchester United as part of the deal to take Alexis Sanchez in the other direction with his customary swagger. The assumption is that Mkhitaryan (and Raiola) will be paid a premium by United to leave and paid a premium by Arsenal to join, which counts as nice work if you can get it. Raiola has become renowned for ...
Read More


Category: sports football

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@Football365

Football’s fourth age: It’s all about who you know…

9 months ago, 17 Jan 11:30

By: Daniel Storey
In July 2017, Leicester City made it clear that they were willing to accept a bid of £50m for winger Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez was a Premier League title winner, PFA Player of the Year and African Player of the Year. He was at a non-elite club. He was 26. Roma came closest to signing him as a replacement for Mohamed Salah, but the price was deemed too high. There were no takers. In hindsight, that seems extraordinary. Chelsea paid £35m for Mahrez’s teammate Danny Drinkwater, a useful player but hardly a star. We have become accustomed to attacking players commanding a premium, and so too Premier League players. Here was a proven success in the middle of that Venn diagram and…nothing. Last month, the Leicester Mercury’s James Sharpe made the same point as he reacted to Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona from Liverpool. Since the start of 2015/16, Mahrez had scored 30 goals and registered 21 assists in the Premier League. Coutinho had 28 and 18. There is a 16-month age gap between the two players but the £90m difference in valuation is still difficult to appreciate. If it comes down to simple supply and demand, where was the demand for Mahrez? This week, Claude Puel talked up Mahrez’s potential price tag with rumours circling about interest from elite clubs. “Perhaps in the summer he will cost even more than £100m,” Puel said, but the false optimism was a little too transparent. Another year older and with another year of his contract run down, that fee would seem well out of reach.  There are a number of hypotheses about Mahrez’s continued stay at Leicester, but one that seems particularly attractive concerns Kamel Bengougam, whose name you may now be reading for the first time. And yet it is Bengougam who has his future in his hands. Bengougam is Mahrez’s agent. Information on Bengougam is thin on the ground. There is a LinkedIn page which confirms that he works for an agency called ‘bk tizimanagement’, although they are called ‘BKS’ elsewhere. There is a Facebook profile too, which briefly gained attention after Bengougam posted an image of himself watching Lens vs Arsenal. Finally, there is a profile on The Players’ Agent website – which lists a phone number that doesn’t work – and Elite Football. On the latter, Bengougam is listed as the agent of Marcus Coco of FC Guingamp and Cedric Si Mohammed, who currently plays for the team second bottom of the Algerian league. You wonder where Mahrez might be now if his agent was Mino Raiola. The Italian-Dutch super-agent is again in the news for negotiating Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s exit from Manchester United as part of the deal to take Alexis Sanchez in the other direction with his customary swagger. The assumption is that Mkhitaryan (and Raiola) will be paid a premium by United to leave and paid a premium by Arsenal to join, which counts as nice work if you can get it. Raiola has become renowned for ...
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