Mahrez latest: Forward spotted on plane to London, while Ranieri says no


Mahrez wants Arsenal move(EuroSport France)

Leicester City FC and Algeria national football team player Riyad Mahrez is likely to join Arsenal, according to reports from Eurosport France.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants the Algerian, who starred for Leicester in their title win last season, to bolster his forward line which already includes the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. If Mahrez joins the Gunners, it will be a further blow to manager Claudio Ranieri if this transfer does happen after he already lost star midfielder N’Golo Kante for £32 million to Chelsea.

Reports surfaced on Saturday morning of Mahrez, who was voted the Premier League Player the Year last season, having agreed to join Arsene Wenger’s side after seeing Frenchman N’Golo Kante leave the club. Arsenal is reportedly readying a £42 million bid for the 25-year-old Algerian international who has his mind set on a move to north London.

According to Eurosport France, Mahrez is ready to swap the King Power Stadium for the Emirates after being “seduced” by Arsenal, who have been consistently linked with the 25-year-old in recent months. Furthermore, the Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri told journalists on Wednesday that Mahrez wished to stay with the club.

Mahrez spotted on Plane to London(Metro)

Arsenal fans went into meltdown after Riyad Mahrez was reportedly spotted taking a flight from Glasgow to London on Saturday evening, according to reports in Metro.

According to talkSPORT presenter Georgie Bingham, the Algeria international was on board her flight to the capital following the match, along with fellow Foxes man Kasper Schmeichel.

However it is also being suggested that the duo were on media business with Leicester but this didn’t stop Gunners supporters losing the plot on social media.

Mahrez isn’t heading to Arsenal, claims Claudio Ranieri

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is “confident” star winger Riyad Mahrez will not leave the Premier League champions this summer, according to reports in ESPN.

Speaking to reporters after Leicester’s friendly defeat of Celtic on Saturday, the former Chelsea and Juventus boss expressed his certainty that the Algeria international would remain at the King Power stadium this season.

“I’m confident, of course,” Ranieri said, when asked if he believed Mahrez would stay.

“We know very well there are other teams who must win the Premier League. We just have to defend it.

However, it is understood that the 25-year-old’s agent met Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in Lens, where the Gunners were playing a pre-season friendly on Friday. Mahrez’s agent, Kamel Bengougam, was present at the Gunners’ pre-season friendly draw against Lens but has refused to comment on the story. The deal could be announced in the next few days after Wenger said at a press conference that the club is still very “active” in the transfer market.

Mahrez scored 17 goals during the 2015/16 season more than any individual Arsenal player and registered 11 assists, the fifth most in the division. He joined Leicester from for just £400,000 in one of the bargains of the century and has three years remaining on his current deal. If he were to join Arsenal, Mahrez would become the second high-profile player to leave LCFC in a space of two weeks.

Premier League’s first African PFA Player of the Year Mahrez was the star of the Foxes’ fairytale Premier League title but is set to move to Emirates. However, Ranieri seemed confident when he said that Mahrez will stay at the King Power stadium. It is believed those words were just a tactic to put pressure on the Algerian as the former Chelsea boss had accepted he would not stand in the way of any player who wanted to leave the club.

Arsenal was snubbed by another LCFC player Jamie Vardy before the Euro 2016 but look set to sign Riyad Mahrez. He would be the fourth player to move to the Emirates following the signings of Granit Xhaka, Takuma Asano, and Rob Holding this season. While the 25-year old forward has reportedly accepted a direct offer from Arsenal, Wenger has reportedly missed out on his top striker target Gonzalo Higuain after pictures emerged today of the Napoli striker undergoing a medical at Juventus.

Riyad Mahrez started for Leicester against Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday, despite the intense speculation surrounding his future. Last season’s best player yet again scored for the defending Premier League champions in a penalty shoot-out win over Scottish champions Celtic FC in the International Champions cup.

If Mahrez does join Arsenal Wenger can deploy him in different positions by trying out 3 possible formations namely the usual 4-2-3-1, the ‘false 9’ and the unorthodox 4-4-2.

In the first case, The most obvious position to fit Mahrez in is the wide role on the right in which he flourished for Leicester last season, racing past defenders as Ranieri’s side launched into the trademark counter-attacks of theirs and providing the ammunition for Jamie Vardy up front. Alexis Sanchez on one wing and Mahrez on the other would be a dream duo. Mesut Ozil, Granit Xhaka, and Santi Cazorla get the nod in midfield on this occasion but, given Wenger’s abundance of midfielders, either Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey or Mohamed Elneny could play those roles in central midfield as well.

Leicester City won the Premier League by scoring 68 goals in the 38 games last season and Mahrez bagged 17 of them. In the second case, the advantages of playing a false 9 with Mahrez leading the line allows Wenger to further hone in his desire for possession football. Playing in a deeper role last season, Mahrez showed the world just how deadly he can be in front of goal. With the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Granit Xhaka in the middle, quick passing and ball retention is almost a guarantee.

In the final case, one drawback would be pushing the influential ‘assist king’ Mesut Ozil into an unfavoured wide role. Making no secret of his desire to play centrally, Wenger would need to find a system capable of keeping his squad of stars happy. However, Olivier Giroud would be in the team to allow the likes of Mahrez and Sanchez to play off the Frenchman’s ability to win a large majority of flick-ons and aerial challenges.

Thus so far Mahrez looks to be concentrating on performing well for LCFC in the International Champions’ cup in spite of reports emanating from France suggesting that the 25-year-old has already made his mind up and is ready to quit the Premier League champions. But in football, you never know what will happen next. Hence let us keep our fingers crossed on this piece of transfer rumor.

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  1. Whenever I see an article that uses the phrase “it is understood that…” I instantly know the story is bollocks.