It would appear that Riyad Mahrez has always wanted to play for Arsenal and has made no secret of the fact even while he was playing for title-winning Leicester. He won the Player-of-the-Year and still dreamed of joining Arsene Wenger at his dream club, but with no offer from Wenger he foolishy agreed to a new extension with Leicester and a massive increase in his wages.
He has therefore given the Foxes total control over the selling price if Arsenal come calling, and this is why they will not budge on their £50million demand if he is to leave this summer.
According to a report today, a source at Leicester has explained where the Algerian went wrong in his actions last summer. “Mahrez’s problem is he has talked about a move to Arsenal for two summers now but on both occasions he has had three years remaining on his contract.
“Therefore he is in no position to dictate the next move or call the shots — all the power lies with the club.
“Leicester’s owners do not need the money so unless it’s a staggering deal and the kind of offer which would be stupid to turn down, why would they sell for less than £50m in this market?”
“Arsenal didn’t make a solitary bid for Mahrez last summer.
“Since then his value has doubled and so has his salary, but his form dipped last season.
“As for Roma, the serious money is in the Premier League, not Serie A.
“That would be a backwards move and as Mahrez has a young child it’s unlikely he will want to move to Italy anyway.
“All the cards are in Leicester’s favour.
“When Liverpool can turn down £72m for Philippe Coutinho do you really think Mahrez will go for less than half of that figure — a year after he was voted the Player of the Year?”
This report certainly makes sense. Mahrez reckons that the Leicester heirarchy promised him that he could leave this summer if a bid came in from Arsenal, but they certainly didn’t give him any assurances on what price they would demand, so he cannot complain when they demand the going rate from the Gunners. I am sure Wenger will be hoping they will come to a compromise at the end of the transfer window, but they are well within their rights to keep him for another two years if they want to. That’s football life, and perhaps Mahrez should not made his feelings so public. He may regret that if Wenger refuses to pay up….