In a shocking turn of events, Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez has reportedly agreed to join Premier League giants Arsenal.
According to French media outlet Eurosport, Riyad Mahrez is surprisingly on his way to the Emirates to join forces with Arsene Wenger. The Gunners had been previously linked to the Algerian, but it was understood that he would be staying put at the King Power. This would mean that the Foxes would lose out on their second big name, after letting N’Golo Kante depart to Chelsea.
Signing Mahrez would do Arsene Wenger a lot of good as he has been criticized for the lack of big-name signings for a majority of his tenure at the Emirates. After signing Xhaka from German side Borussia Monchengladbach, Wenger roped in two low-key players in Takuma Asano and Rob Holding. Arsenal’s recent pre-season performances too have shown the need for signings, and the Algerian may be the man who could bring the glory days back to Arsenal.
Riyad Mahrez was pivotal in Leicester’s title triumph in 2015/16, and he was named the PFA and Premier League Player of the Year. His link-up play with Jamie Vardy was exceptional, as the duo wreaked havoc in the opposition penalty area.
According to WhoScored, the 25-year old found the back of the net on 17 occasions in the league, and also provided another 11 assists. He completed a staggering 3.5 dribbles and had a go at the goal 2.7 times per game. An attacking player in every sense of the word, Mahrez would aid the Gunners’ barrage as they look to go all guns blazing into the 2016/17 season.
Riyad Mahrez: Only Mesut Özil (35) has created more clear-cut chances in the last 2 Premier League seasons than @Mahrez22 (31)
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 6, 2016
He would play on the right hand side of a midfield trio comprising of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Ozil and Mahrez were the top two assist providers last season, and would be an intriguing force should they be paired with each other. Also, it is understood that Wenger is in for a world-class striker, and if he can get the players they want, the 2016/17 Premier League title may have Arsenal’s name engraved on it.
Manager Claudio Ranieri is adamant that Mahrez wants to stay
Riyad Mahrez has three years left on his contract with Leicester, and boss Claudio Ranieri is hellbent on retaining his services. According to Sky Sports, Ranieri does not expect Mahrez to leave and believes Leicester’s squad is now settled ahead of their title defence.
Speaking after Tuesday’s 2-1 friendly win at Oxford, the Italian said: “I think everybody here is happy. It’s finished, the market has finished.”
Asked specifically if he had spoken to Mahrez, Ranieri said : “Yes, he wants to stay.”
Leicester play their first game of the season against Manchester United on the 7th of August for the Community Shield at the new Wembley Stadium.
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