Liverpool spent big to lure Van Dijk away from Southampton with Jurgen Klopp smashing the club’s transfer record to sign the Holland international. 

Leicester star Mahrez, meanwhile, was left emotionally crushed after the Foxes refused to sell him to Manchester City.

Mahrez had his heart set on a move to City but Leicester’s £80million asking price scared City off, despite the Premier League leaders sealing a £60m deal for Aymeric Laporte the day before.

And the Mirror say Liverpool’s deal for Van Dijk – coupled with their £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona – was the reason why City were unable to land their man.

It is said Leicester felt they were justified in demanding £80m to cough up their star asset – because the market value for star players has risen that high.

Mahrez helped them win the Premier League title in 2016 and was named PFA Player of the Year that year.

And though he has been unable to hit the same heights since, Mahrez remains their talisman along with Jamie Vardy.

The Mirror say Leicester felt Liverpool’s January business set the precedent for their own saga.

Yet Mahrez has been left hurt by his club’s refusal to sell to City, with whom he would have likely won a second league title.

The 26-year-old has since gone AWOL but, speaking today, manager Claude Puel insisted he may yet have a future at the King Power Stadium.

“As a club, we took this decision for the good of Leicester,” said Puel. 

“I think it’s the best decision for the club after the position with Riyad.

“I will assess Riyad when he clears his head. The business [side] of the transfer window is difficult for us to manage but I think it is time now to move on and keep our focus.

“I hope Riyad can clear his head and come back with us because he’s a valuable player for us.

“We need to stay united after all this.”

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