Riyadh Mahrez, voted PFA players’ player of the year last season, is reportedly unwilling to extend his contract at Leicester City, The Guardian understands. Needless to say, this opens the door for a possible move away from King Power for the Algerian.
Mahrez, a key to Leicester’s title victory last season, was involved in all their league matches, starting in 36 and coming off the bench in the other two and ended the season with an impressive 17 goals and 11 assists.
Arsenal boss also admitted that Leicester’s signing of Mahrez from Le Havre FC for a mere 400,000 pounds, could go down as the best in the history of the Premier League.
The player’s reluctance to commit to a new deal opens the door for Arsenal to sign him, although Barcelona are also reported to be interested in him. Mahrez, a left-footer who primarily plays on the right wing, is quite versatile because of a strong weak foot and can also play on the left or in the middle.
According to Sky Bet, Arsenal are 3/1 favourites to sign the Algerian international, with Barcelona (10/1), PSG (12/1), Manchester United (16/1), Manchester City (25/1), Chelsea (28/1) and Real Madrid (33/1) the other runners in the market.
Arsene Wenger admitted in February that he had followed Mahrez as well as star midfielder N’golo Kante.
As quoted by The Sun on 13/2/2016, Wenger had this to say about Mahrez:
that, that is not serious for Arsenal’.
“If you say we signed a player for £40million they will think he is really
Primarily serving as a potential replacement for out of favour Walcott, he could also provide cover for the position vacated by Rosicky and a backup for Sanchez, proving to be a useful signing and the kind of versatile player that Arsene Wenger likes.
The Mahrez contract saga could also have the interesting effect of rekindling Arsenal’s failed attempt at signing Jamie Vardy earlier this May.
With N’Golo Kante on the brink of a £30million move to Chelsea and now Mahrez refusing to sign a new contract, Vardy who was reportedly persuaded to stay earlier by Mahrez and Kante, may also be also tempted by a move away from the club.
Arsenal signing both Vardy and Mahrez would be a dream come true, though expecting that may be a bit too optimistic at this stage.