Over the course of the past few weeks, Arsenal have been heavily linked with star Leicester player Riyad Mahrez, with rumours arising that the wide man would leave the club for Arsenal.
It has got the rumour mill up and running and Arsenal fans are desperate to see Arsene Wenger pull this deal off. Another winger isn’t our main priority but many feel that if we can snatch Mahrez at this moment in time, then it is not a deal we should let pass. A number of around £41 million is anticipated to be a fee that Leicester would agree to, which personally I feel is a little steep, however their manager Claudio Ranieri has been doing some digging in an attempt to keep hold of his main man.
After Mahrez’s stunning goal against Celtic, Ranieri was keen to point out that despite all the rumours going around, he is adamant that Mahrez will not be leaving Leicester this summer. However I think he may still be a little fearful that there is a small chance of the star mans departure, because he’s been speaking to the media in a manner that will be showing little hints aimed at Mahrez.
Speaking to the press, Sky Sports reported Ranieri saying: “It is very important [to keep him] he is one of our stars. Other teams maybe have more stars and maybe he doesn’t play at the same level, because maybe is on the bench so it is much better he stays with me.”
Now of course Ranieri isn’t pointing the finger in the direction of Mahrez to Arsenal, in fact the Italian doesn’t make any mention of any potential suitors for Mahrez’s signature. However Ranieri does suggest that Mahrez should think twice if a club of Arsenal’s stature does come in with a bid, because he seems to believe Mahrez wouldn’t be a regular first team player at a big club.
First of all if you’re talking about the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, both who have also been linked with Mahrez then yes, there’s no surprise that Mahrez probably wouldn’t be a first team regular. He isn’t going to get past Ronaldo, Bale, Messi or Neymar. However if you’re talking about Arsenal, Chelsea, the Premier League sides who are linked with the Algerian, then I can safely say he would certainly be a regular over Walcott or Pedro.
At Arsenal although we have plenty of depth in midfield, we really do lack in quality on the wings. After Alexis Sanchez there is a dramatic fall in quality to our next best player, which is largely a fight between Walcott, Ox and Campbell, whilst Iwobi is slowly making a name for himself. At Arsenal Mahrez would one hundred per cent be a first team regular, and based on current form Mahrez would get ahead of the likes of Ox, Walcott and Campbell any day of the week.
For Ranieri’s sake I hope Mahrez doesn’t take his comments the wrong way by thinking that the Italian manager is suggesting he isn’t good enough to be a regular player at a top European club. However from the perspective of Arsenal, I’m sure most would be more than happy to see Mahrez regularly featuring on our wing.