Can Leicester keep hold of this title-chasing hero in the summer?

Despite being forced to go about their business under a cloud of persistent scrutiny throughout large portions of the campaign thus far, Leicester City – and their ever impressive manager in the shape of Claudio Ranieri – seemingly don’t look keen on letting their current position in the upper echelons of the Premier League slip from their grasp any time soon.

The Foxes have provided this year’s unquestionably dramatic Premier League proceedings with easily the most notable side of the entire season, yet whilst the likes of Jamie Vardy, Robert Huth, Danny Drinkwater and N’Golo Kante have rightfully drawn a great deal of praise from all quarters of the English footballing community in recent weeks, the mercurial figure of Riyad Mahrez must arguably arrive as the standout performer of the current Leicester contingency.

As the Algerian international has since been linked with an illustrious move to some of Europe’s most elite clubs in 2015/16 however – from the undoubtedly enticing riches on offer at both Real Madrid and Barcelona, to a series of admirers found much closer to home in the form of Arsenal and Manchester United – it seems as if Claudio Ranieri ultimately has a massive task on his hands in persuading the 25-year-old play-maker to stay put at the King Power Stadium this summer.

So in light of all the deserved hype and subsequent speculation to surround the in-form Foxes front-man this season – is Riyad Mahrez certain to leave his current employers in the summer, or will the quick-footed attacker eventually maintain his positive relationship with the Leicester City faithful well into the 2016/17 campaign?

Seeing as Ranieri has already stated his desire to gracefully let his players decide upon their own fate come the final culmination of the 2015/16 campaign, it seems as if Mahrez may well depart the King Power Stadium one way or another this summer – regardless of whether or not Leicester manage to crown themselves league champions between now and the end of the season.

The former Le Havre man has certainly been in scintillating form for Claudio Ranieri’s side so far this term, and would obviously represent a massive loss for the club should he finally decide to move on to a new challenge next season. Although the Foxes would likely recoup a great deal of profit on any deal involving Riyad Mahrez this summer, no right-minded Leicester fan ultimately wants to see the wide-man playing for another team in 2016/17, within or beyond the realms of the Premier League itself.

Even if Leicester City end the current season on triumphant terms this year, the prospect of playing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo at either Real Madrid or Barcelona, would be a hard notion to turn down for any Premier League player operating within the prime stages of their career.

The King Power faithful would therefore seem somewhat unjust in expecting their current fan-favourite to stick it out at their club over the course of the foreseeable future, despite the understandable sense of heart-break that would invariably follow in the wake of Mahrez’ potential move away from the Foxes during the upcoming summer transfer window.

But as Claudio Ranieri’s impressive outfit will seemingly find themselves in the Champions League next season, with an extended reputation boost likely to ripple throughout the rest of the European footballing scene as a result of their daring exploits this term – is it really such an unrealistic thought to picture Riyad Mahrez still operating for Leicester City come this time next season? Arguably not…

Whatever your opinion on the Foxes before the 2015/16 campaign first got underway, this is a side that clearly seem to be going places with all things fairly taken into account. They have consistently proved several football ‘experts’ wrong across the duration of the current season, so perhaps Claudio Ranieri has yet another shock in store regarding the fate of his highly coveted no. 26 this summer.

None of us can truly offer anything close to a definitive answer on just how Leicester City will be lining up next season, for the final chapter in the Foxes 2015/16 fairy-tale is seemingly yet to be written. At this particular stage in the proceedings, all any of us can really do is wait it out and see just how far this team have come in such a short period of time.

As Leicester City have surprised most of us all the way through the current campaign however, maybe the concept of Riyad Mahrez consistently turning out in Foxes colours next season shouldn’t really come as much of a shock after all.