Arsenal have weighed up a move for Leicester City’s star playmaker Riyad Mahrez with a £42m move already on the cards as reported by Goal.
The Algerian is not the first player to have attracted interest from one of the Premier League big boys. N’Golo Kante, has already swapped The King Power stadium for Stamford Bridge, while Arsenal had earlier activated a release clause that was inserted in the contract of Leicester star Jamie Vardy, who eventually decided to stay with the current Premier League champions.
It is not surprising that Arsenal are willing to pay a fee in the range that they paid for their record signing Mesut Ozil in 2013. Mahrez is in actual fact that good a player.
Subsequently, reports from all over are also pouring in on Ranieri’s response to the Mahrez situation and to the brewing exodus; one that Leicester have dreaded ( unfortunately, in spite becoming champions of England) but not one that was not expected.
While it is unclear as to where do Arsenal stand with a deal for the Algerian ( as are most Arsenal deals !) , Sky Sports claim that Leicester City’s owners and officials will sit down during the club’s pre-season tour to discuss the Algerian’s future.
In an interview with Leicester boss Ranieri himself, ESPN has been able to respond the Italian maestro’s response to the Mahrez situation.
According to this report, here is what the manager had to say:
“I think Mahrez for us is very important as our light. If he goes in another big team, there are so many lights, so many stars, why?
“Stay with us, it’s much better, much better. He’s our champion. If he goes in another team, there are so many champions.
“He knows me, I know him very well and I understand when he plays so-so and I can permit to stay on the pitch. When another manager, when he plays so-so, there are so many other stars I put him on the bench.
“It’s important you give confidence. But if you put him on the bench he gets down. I think, I hope he can stay with us because it’s important for us and it’s important for him."
Ranieri, who won Premier League’s manager of the year last season has previously managed Chelsea in England, and is seemingly aware of the kind of attraction that ‘big’ clubs in England have.
It is also evident from his statement above that it is not an easy task convincing his star players to stay at the club, given this reality, however unfortunate it may be for the Foxes, who have in every respect broken the norm in world football already.
Will Mahrez make the move to the Emirates?