Arsenal reportedly closing in on a £41m deal for Riyad Mahrez

According to reports, Riyad Mahrez has agreed to join Leicester City’s Premier League rivals Arsenal as the Gunners close in on their fourth summer signing.

Mahrez was one of the most influential attackers in Europe last season and was a key factor in the Foxes Premier League miracle, his exquisite form saw him named last season’s Player of the Year and his astonishing rise has caught the eye of many big European teams including Spanish giants Barcelona.

Mahrez moved to England in 2014 after Leicester scouts identified the former Le Havre winger, he has gone on to play 86 games for the Foxes scoring 24 goals.

The Premier League champions have been adamant on keeping their star fan this summer and have so far fended off any interest, they were successful in keeping Jamie Vardy after he snubbed a move to Arsenal and signed a new contract, but they did lose their midfield rock N’golo Kante last week after he signed for Chelsea.

Claudio Ranieri publicly stated that Mahrez was happy at Leicester and wanted to remain with the club this summer, but as reports suggest, Mahrez could be on his way to the Gunners in a £41 million move.

In his conference, the Italian stated: ‘It is over, the market is closed here. Mahrez wants to stay.’

The French edition of Eurosport have claimed the comments were to pressurise the 25-year-old into signing a new contract with the current champions having being made aware of the Gunners interest.

Despite Ranieri’s comments, Mahrez’s mind is reportedly made up and he has his heart set on a move to Arsenal this summer, once the North London club make an official bid he will finally leave the champions and seal his move.

Arsene Wenger met with Mahrez’s agent after their opening pre-season 1-1 draw with Lens on Friday night, Kamel Bengougam (Mahrez’s agent) was spotted in the stadium last night following the Gunners result, but, despite speculation that one of his clients could be on a move to London, he also had players representing the French side.

In May, Kamel Bengougam suggested there was a 50:50 chance Mahrez would leave the Foxes this summer, “at this stage, if the opportunity comes to play for a big team then we would have to think about it. I’d say it’s 50:50 at the moment whether he stays or goes.

Riyad Mahrez was one of the biggest surprises last season, his elegance on the ball and his killer instinct saw him become one of the league’s most exciting players. Although he is not the new striker Arsenal fans are crying out for, he is certainly a worthy addition to their squad.

Arsene will play Mahrez in his favoured Right Wing position, but, the arrival of Mahrez gives Arsene many options, he could deploy Alexis Sanchez as a number 9 with Wilshere, Ox, Mahrez, Walcott all occupying the wing position with the brilliant Mesut Ozil playing in the middle of the three.

Riyad Mahrez would be an excellent signing for the Gunners and would bring some belief back to the club, reports breaking this morning suggest a move could materialise very quickly and as an Arsenal fan, this certainly excites me.

 

Chris Baker

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