Riyad Mahrez is reportedly set to agree to a £35 million move and join Arsenal this summer despite being keen on joining Barcelona
According to a report by The Sun, the Leicester midfielder was believed to have had his heart set on a move to the Nou Camp, but the Catalan giants seem to have other players in mind. Hence, Mahrez is now open to signing a deal with Arsenal who have been targeting him for a while now.
While his decision to leave Leicester City might have come as a shock to fans, Mahrez has not received as many bids especially since he was reported to be quite vocal about his desire to play for Barcelona. The Spanish champions, however, are intent on pursuing Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti instead.
The 26-year-old Algerian was previously linked with a move to the Emirates last summer, shortly after being a crucial part of Leicester City’s fairytale season wherein they lifted the Premier League trophy. Despite weeks of speculation back then, Mahrez ultimately inked a new deal with Leicester, dashing Wenger’s hopes.
This time around, Wenger will be determined to not let another opportunity slip past, especially after Mahrez is believed to have lost interest in what could’ve been a high-profile move to join Barcelona.
Mahrez was named the PFA Player of the Year following Leicester’s remarkable season but, like the club, he was also unable to replicate his blistering form during last season.
The Foxes struggled in their title defence and even emerged as shock relegation contenders while Mahrez failed to find his best form, before showing signs of improvement towards the end of the season. After three years of ups and downs at the King Power Stadium, the play-maker seems to be ready to move on.
Wenger’s interest in Mahrez is completely justified based on the brilliant form displayed by the Algerian when Leicester picked up the league title. He is extremely proficient technically and able to connect attacking moves in tight areas. He is fast and can be creative even in compact areas while also setting up chances to score.
That can work extremely well in a set-up like Arsenal since it will allow Mahrez the space to experiment and extract better performances from himself. So far, Wenger’s business in the transfer window has been dismal since they have only picked up Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer from Schalke, and signing Mahrez can prove to be beneficial.