Could Riyad Mahrez be Claude Puel's new Hatem Ben Arfa at Leicester?

Claude Puel, Manager of Southampton looks on during the Premier League match between Southampton and Stoke City at St Mary's Stadium on May 21, 2017 in Southampton, England.

Hatem Ben Arfa is reportedly a Leicester target, but they already have a similar player - who Claude Puel is looking to shape.

Hatem Ben Arfa of Newcastle celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers at the Sports Direct Arena on April 9,...

Hatem Ben Arfa is an immensely talented player, but very few managers have got the best out of him.

One of those, however, is Claude Puel, who coached the France international during the finest season of his career at Nice.

With Puel recently taking over at Leicester City, it is perhaps no surprise, therefore, to see the Foxes linked with a move for Ben Arfa by RMC Sport.

Claude Puel, Manager of Southampton looks on prior to the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton at The Hawthorns on April 8, 2017 in West Bromwich, England.

But in the meantime, with the transfer window closed, Puel is making do with the resources he has - and he has already identified a player who could be his Ben Arfa.

Against Everton on Sunday, Puel brought Demarai Gray into the team to give Riyad Mahrez the opportunity to play centrally for Leicester.

When brought Ben Arfa to Nice, the Frenchman had largely spent his career playing in a wide right position that - it could be argued - limited his influence on the game.

Riyad Mahrez of Leicester looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City at Molineux on July 29, 2017 in Wolverhampton, England.

The same is true of Mahrez. While he won the PFA Player of the Year as Leicester claimed the title in 2015-16, Mahrez has not yet been afforded a central role at the King Power Stadium.

That looks set to change under Puel. Mahrez contributed an assist in the opening 20 minutes of his new role, with his freedom to drift right or left bringing the best out of the Algerian.

It could be that Puel is particularly well suited to dealing with certain types of players - and that would be great news for Leicester and Mahrez.

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