Leicester City are leading the race to sign Italy’s Euro 2020 ace Domenico Berardi from Sassuolo despite interest from Premier League rivals Liverpool and Tottenham, as reported by Corriere dello Sport.
It is three years now since Riyad Mahrez sealed that acrimonious £60 million move to Manchester City and, while things haven’t gone too badly for Leicester since then, replacing the 2016 PFA Player of the Year has proved all-but impossible.
Rachid Ghezzal, another Algeria international, failed miserably to emulate his compatriot’s King Power heroics.
Cengiz Under, meanwhile, started a grand total of one Premier League game during an oh-so forgettable loan spell from Roma.
But with Leicester leading the chase to sign the £43 million-rated Berardi before the summer is out, it is tempting to wonder whether the Foxes have finally found Mahrez 2.0.
Is Domenico Berardi going to become Leicester’s new Mahrez?
Stylistically speaking, Berardi and Mahrez are peas in a pod. Both are left-footed right-wingers who love nothing more than to cut inside and wreak havoc in the final third.
Berardi scored a career-best 17 goals for overachievers Sassuolo last season, before sparkling for an Italy side who are giving off serious ‘end of level’ boss vibes at Euro 2020.
Berardi has spent his entire professional career at the Mapei Stadium, but a player once labelled ‘the Totti of Sassuolo’ appears increasingly unlikely to join the Roma icon in an exclusive ‘one-club man’ clique.
Premier League giants Liverpool and Tottenham are interested too, although Corriere dello Sport believe that Leicester remain the most likely destination for a man who shot to fame with a stunning hat-trick against AC Milan as a wide-eyed teen back in 2013.
“I cannot promise he will remain with us, but it’s not a matter of money. Berardi is a special guy, with very clear ideas. He wants to continue enjoying his football,” Sassuolo director Giovanni Carnevali said last week.