Report: Arsenal looking to sign Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez this summer
Claudio Ranieri also said he would not stand in Mahrez's way if he requests a transfer
According to ESPN, Arsenal could target Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez in the summer transfer window. The Algerian winger has been in fine form this season and taken the Premier League by storm.
Under Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes have topped the Premier League table and, after 27 games, have a two-point lead over Tottenham Hotspur. And the 25-year-old has been one of the key players in the run that has threatened to topple the established order of the top four sides.
Alongside Jamie Vardy, who tops the Premier League goalscoring charts with 19 goals, Mahrez has scored 14 goals and grabbed 10 assists – a total of 24 goals. No other player has been involved in so many goals with Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil in second place with 23 goals (5 goals and 18 assists).
Reports suggest that the Gunners are keeping an eye on Mahrez and will move in if he decides to move in the summer. He had extended his contract in August 2015, penning a four-year deal that would see him stay at the King Power Stadium until 2019.
Mahrez was signed from Le Havre for just £400,000 and has already been linked to other top European clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United. The winger himself is a self-confessed fan of Lionel Messi and dreams of playing with him at the Camp Nou.
Arsenal have already signed Leicester City's head scout Ben Wrigglesworth with the club going through a restructuring process.
Ranieri won’t stand in Mahrez’s way if he wants to leave
Although Ranieri is confident that Leicester City will qualify for the Champions League next season, a phenomenal feat for a club who finished 16th last season before the Italian manager’s arrival, he said he would not stand in any player’s way if they request a transfer.
“We want to keep all our players,” Ranieri said. “We believe in them. But if a player comes to me and says: ‘Boss, I want to go there because it's my ambition to go there,’ I’ll say: ‘Go and enjoy and have good luck’.
“I want only players who are happy to stay here because, sooner or later, we grow up a lot. Of course, not like Barcelona or Real Madrid, but Leicester will be a very good team.
Ranieri said that in spite of a potential transfer away from the club, the primary thing to focus on was the rest of the season as they look to become only the sixth club to win the Premier League title.
“If I am Riyad, I say: ‘There are a lot of teams who want me, OK, I have to show more if I want to go there,” Ranieri continued. “I have to show my best, because if I should do my best maybe they want to buy me.
“But, for now, he must concentrate on the rest of the season with Leicester. If I see him thinking of other teams he comes with me on the bench.”