According to Calciomercato.it, Arsenal will sign Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City in the coming days.
The report, which is branded as an ‘EXCLUSIVE’, does not mention how much the Gunners have offered for the 26-year-old and fails to outline details of the length of the proposed contract.
The Algeria international rebuffed an approach from the Gunners a year ago, opting instead to pen a new contract with the Foxes. He changed tact at the end of May when he submitted a transfer request citing ‘fierce’ ambition and a desire to ‘move on to a new experience’.
Within days, Arsene Wenger hinted he was still interested in the 2016 PFA Player of the Year although he made clear a bid had not been made.
“Have we made a bid for him?,” he said on beIN SPORTS. “No. Not yet. Not yet means it could happen, it could not happen.”
Barcelona have also been linked with the player but appear to have cooled any interest.
Mahrez came to prominence during the 2015/16 season when his 17 goals and 10 assists helped Leicester to a miraculous title triumph. Mahrez struggled to replicate that form on the domestic front last campaign, scoring just six goals and making four assists as the Foxes flirted with relegation. The winger seemed to enjoy himself more in the Champions League where he bagged four goals and two assists on the road to the quarter-finals.
On the surface, a bid for Mahrez makes sense. He’s a creative player with an eye for goal. He can operate off the flank and behind a lead striker. He’d bring flair to a team that struggled to cope without Santi Cazorla. He knows what the Premier League is all about and he’s in the prime of his career. Moreover, in light of the existing contract stand-offs at the Emirates, he’s someone who could help to fill the void should Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil etc. be sold.
We do our best here at Arseblog News to avoid getting caught up in the worst of the transfer tittle-tattle, so what do we make of this story? Honestly, we’re not sure how reputable Calciomercato is as a publication, but they seem pretty adamant that something is happening between Mahrez and Arsenal and that it’s happening quickly. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.