Mahrez’s former team-mate N’Golo Kante is the odds on favourite to land the award as he prepares to become only the second outfield player after Eric Cantona to win the title in back-to-back seasons with two different clubs.
The bookies might see Kante’s triumph as a near certainty, but as players get their final ballots in the post, a quick canvass of our office threw up some varying opinions.
We each nominated our top six, in order of who deserves to win the award, with the player placed first earning six points, down to the sixth-placed player earning one point. Here are the results:
1. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea, 38 points)
Kante made the six-man shortlist last year and is the runaway favourite to take the award after extending his imperious dominance over Premier League midfields following his move from Leicester to Chelsea. Kante was the whirring dynamo at the heart of Leicester City’s miracle and he hasn’t relented after being fitted into Antonio Conte’s team. Only one player, Idrissa Gueye, makes more tackles per match than Kante and his heat maps have become the stuff of legend. Humble to boot, Kante will be a very popular winner for both the football cognoscenti and the common fan if he is crowned - a rare feat for a defensive midfielder.
2. Eden Hazard (Chelsea, 26 points)
If Kante has been the engine of the Chelsea team, Hazard has been the sexy bodywork. His 11 goals and four assists don’t compare so favourably with some of the other forwards on this list but Hazard has decorated game after game with his brilliance. Last season he was unadulterated garbage for Jose Mourinho, but Antonio Conte managed to reinvent a player who has once again become the leading light of the English game. His astonishing solo goal against Arsenal has been the highlight of his amazing campaign in Chelsea’s frontline.
3. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal, 25 points)
His abrasive training-ground behaviour and histrionic hissy fits have garnered attention in recent weeks, but the real story of Sanchez’s season has been his luminous performances, elevating him beyond any other Arsenal player. The Chilean, who adapted impressively to a new central role at the start of the campaign, has 18 goals and nine assists in the Premier League alone and decides game after game for his club. This season has firmly made him one of the best forwards in Europe, which while largely good news for Arsenal will only make his likely summer exit even harder to swallow. Especially if he joins Chelsea.
4. Dele Alli (Tottenham, 17 points)
The hype around Kylian Mbappe has crashed through the roof and into the stratosphere in recent weeks but the France sensation isn’t the top scorer in Europe’s top leagues who is 21 or under. That honour falls to Alli, and he isn’t even a striker. Alli has seized the chance of playing higher up the pitch this season with a prolific campaign for an ever improving Spurs side, scoring 14 times in the league. He has developed the predatory side of his game, notably with two fine headed goals against Chelsea in January, while retaining the fantasy which makes him a truly special talent.
5. Romelu Lukaku (Everton, 11 points)
It is not yet April and Lukaku has already amassed 21 goals for a club outside the elite, two clear of Harry Kane, who is the second top scorer in England. The Belgian also has six assists to his name in what has been another season of progress and improvement. It is no surprise that Chelsea and Manchester United are being linked with a £70m bid in the summer: Lukaku is a goal machine, a traditional centre-forward in the very best sense, who poses defences often intractable problems. He wants to leave Everton in pursuit of Champions League football and on the evidence of this season, he deserves it.
6. Diego Costa (Chelsea, 9 points)
Costa’s season was in jeopardy in January when he was axed from the team after a reported training ground bust-up but he was quickly forgiven and continued to excel as the focal point of the Chelsea attack. The Spain international has 12 goals and six assists in the Premier League and has been typically bullish in enforcing Chelsea’s dominance from the front. Tenacious and uncompromising, this may well be his last season in England with rumours of a move to Spain or China persisting; if so, he will leave the Premier League on a high.
Sadio Mane (Liverpool, 8 points): 21 goals and five assists for the forward, whose importance to Liverpool was made crystal clear when they collapsed during his absence due to the Africa Cup of Nations.
David Luiz (Chelsea, 7 points): Returned to the sound of laughter before becoming an essential cog in the three-man defence which has taken Chelsea to the brink of the title.
Harry Kane (Tottenham, 2 points): Only injury has slowed Kane this season, and his 19 league goals make for another exemplary season for the Spurs star.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United, 1 point): The 35-year-old has belied his advancing years to score 15 goals and inject a bit of charisma back into United this season.
Victor Moses (Chelsea, 1 point): The most unlikely driving force behind Chelsea's title assault, Moses was thought to be leaving the club before becoming Conte's favoured right wing-back.
Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham, 1 point): A stalwart of consistency at the back for Mauricio Pochettino's side, he has barely put a foot wrong all season.
The full scores
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: PFA Player of the Year: Who should be on the shortlist? Who should win?