Arsene Wenger is reportedly closing in on a deal to sign Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez and is expected to secure the transfer by next week.
According to a report by The Sun, Arsenal are edging closer to securing a transfer deal for Riyad Mahrez and are expected to complete the move by next week. Arsene Wenger has been targeting the Algerian midfielder for quite some time now and a deal seems to be on the cards.
The same report also goes to state that Arsenal are likely to pay around £35 million for the attacker as Wenger looks to boost his options ahead of the forthcoming season. The Gunners finished a lowly fifth in the last campaign – their worst position since the 1995/96 season.
Wenger’s side also had to endure the embarrassment of ending the season 11 points behind fierce rivals Tottenham. Although the Frenchman has not been the best at snapping up deals in the transfer market in recent past, he seems to be determined to change that this summer and a deal for Mahrez is certainly a step in the right direction.
Mahrez played a key role in Leicester City’s fairytale title win in 2016, scoring 18 goals across all competitions. However, that number dropped to 10 last season as the Foxes started struggling under Claudio Ranieri which ultimately cost the Italian manager his job.
Under new manager Craig Shakespeare, both Leicester City and Mahrez improved gradually and the Algerian will be looking to join a club that can provide a bigger stage and better chances at playing regular Champions League football.
Mahrez has a reputation of playing on the right side of Leicester’s midfield and his skills on the ball, his ability to beat players inside and outside and his classy technique has made him a quality winger. If Wenger chooses to return to using the 4-2-3-1 formation to accommodate Mahrez, it would be a rather unusual but effective move.
Theo Walcott usually occupies that spot on the right wing and it remains to be seen if Wenger will choose Mahrez for that position in the upcoming season. Mahrez wouldn’t provide the same movement but he can add more skill and technical ability to Arsenal’s front line.
The Algerian could also play as one of the two men behind the central striker in Wenger’s new 3-4-2-1 formation but it could be a bad move if he does not get to play on the right side since he is more comfortable like that.
If he is to do that, he will have to take Ozil’s spot in the team. Mahrez might be creative but he is not as skilled at cutting the ball through the lines as Ozil is and if the German playmaker chooses to remain with Arsenal then the position might not be up for grabs.
He could be deployed on the left side of attacking midfield in place of Alexis, provided the Chilean leaves this summer, but that is likely to limit him by restricting his ability to cut inside onto his left foot.
If Sanchez and Ozil remain with the Gunners, Mahrez could be a fine addition to the squad. However, the Leicester City man will have to work hard if Wenger is eyeing him as a replacement for one of them since Arsenal cannot afford any more mistakes next season.