Can Leicester City Hold On To Its Stars As European Giants Circle?

Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy
Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy at Selhurst Park, London, March 19. Vardy and Mahrez have attracted interest from the giants of European football. Michael Regan/Getty

As a collective, Leicester City has gone far beyond the realms of over-achievement. The obvious question: can the Foxes keep hold of its group of former inbetweeners-turned-stars?

The rise of Riyad Mahrez, bought for £400,000 two years ago from French Ligue 2 side Le Havre, has drawn interest from European heavyweights, with Arsenal believed to be the latest suitor.

With 16 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season, the Gunners are said to be keen on taking the Algerian to the Emirates Stadium in the summer, according to The Sun.

The north London faithful are crying out for a big-name outfield player to be signed in order to propel them into contention for the league title next season. Who better than the man who could be crowned PFA Player of the Year on Sunday?

Alongside Mahrez as nominees for the prestigious award are fellow Foxes Jamie Vardy and N'Golo Kante, both of whom are likely to draw bids at the end of the season.

Although likely to be banned for half of Leicester's remaining four Premier League fixtures after being sent off against West Ham last Sunday, and then being charged by the FA for improper conduct on Monday, Vardy has been pivotal in his team's rise.

Having scored 22 goals, including five winners for Leicester, the England international has been linked with moves to current English champions Chelsea, Spanish giants Real Madrid, and Liverpool, to name a few.

Just four years ago, Vardy was playing for Fleetwood Town in the Blue Square Premier League. Now, Leicester City will face a monumental battle to keep hold of him ahead of next season.

Should that fail, however, the price tag is likely to be considerably north of the £1 million ($1.4 million) the club signed him for.

Chelsea and Arsenal are also both heavily linked with Kante, whose defensive shield has helped Claudio Ranieri's side to 14 clean sheets this season.

Likened to Claude Makelele, the former Chelsea defensive midfielder, Kante is seen as a man to do the dirty work, allowing the forwards to flourish, something Vardy and Mahrez have benefitted so greatly from this season.

While that trio is likely to see the highest bids, Leicester may need to prepare for further incoming offers this summer, with Danny Drinkwater, Shinji Okazaki and Kasper Schmeichel among the standouts.

Having gone from the foot of the Premier League table in February 2015 to looking set for the title a year later, the Foxes are likely to face a busy summer to sustain this success.