Riyad Mahrez has made it very clear that he intends to leave Leicester this summer, but the club seem to be doing their upmost to put obstacles in his way. It seemed certain that Arsenal were going to sign the ex-Player-Of-The_season but with the Foxes reportedly raising the asking price from £35m to £50m for the Algerian, it would appear that the Gunners are now focusing on bringing in Thomas Lemar instead.
The Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare, is non-plussed with Mahrez’s attitude, and is adamant that the Foxes haven’t even received any official bids for the winger. He said: It can be disappointing when players go public with it but I think you have to understand the modern game,”
“Sometimes outside influences are secondary behind that and there can be reasons for that. Him coming out, we know where it stands, but ultimately he’s contracted to the football club.
“He has to be professional. We have to be professional with him. But more importantly he has to be committed and I think he has to show supporters, staff and players that.
“If he’s selected, he has to perform and, if he doesn’t show commitment, he won’t play. He’s got a contract with us, so he has to understand that.”
“We haven’t had any bids and, if we don’t have one, we’ve got no decision to make. Knowing him as I do, I think with Riyad he was just trying to be as honest as he can [with his statement].
“Of course it can disappoint the fans but I need to really sit down with him one-to-one and see where he’s at in his head and how he feels. I’ve always had a decent relationship with him.
“But if players want to go, ultimately they have contracts and they have to honour them. If they want to go and we get a bid, we’ll reflect on it.”
So what do we make of that? Mahrez obviously thinks Arsenal are interested and is pushing for a move, but perhaps Wenger is keeping Mahrez as a backup option in case he can’t prize Lemar away from Monaco. According to ESPN, The Ligue 1 champions rejected Arsenal’s €40 million bid and the Gunners have raised the bar with a new €45m offer. Whether that will be enough to temp Monaco remains to be seen, but as the French international is 5 years younger than Mahrez he would potentially be a much more interesting target than the 26 year-old Algerian.
Who do you think would be the better buy?