Last year’s Premier League Player of the season Riyad Mahrez has been the subject of many Arsenal transfer rumours since before the end of the season, especially since he publicly informed the club that he wanted to leave. Mahrez wrote: “Out of the huge admiration and respect I hold for Leicester I wanted to be totally honest and transparent. I have informed the club that I feel now is the time for me to move on.
“The relationship I share with the club and our amazing fans are something I will treasure forever and I truly hope they will understand and respect my decision.”
That seems pretty clear cut, and Arsene Wenger himself has not ruled out making an offer to Leicester for him. Le Prof said last week: “Have we made a bid for him? No. Not yet. Not yet means it could happen, it could not happen,”
“I think he had a huge impact at Leicester when they won the championship, like everybody else,”
“It’s been a different season this year but it doesn’t take anything away from his qualities.”
It would appear that the reason Wenger is holding back is because the Algerian international is first trying to find out if Barcelona would be interested in making a bid, and according to the Spanish publication Sport, Mahrez’s agent has already contacted the Spanish giants to enquire about the possibilities.
Thereport states: Mahrez has spoken with Barça through his agents. The club have asked for calm because, at the moment, the priority is to sign a right-back and a midfielder. Mahrez could follow, given Barça value his ability to beat a man and link in attack. He’s a player who has been inconsistent this season, but with so much talent he could explode surrounded by better players.
For the moment, Mahrez has advised that he has an offer from Arsenal. There’s also interest from Chelsea, but his desire is to play in the Spanish league with Barça. Both his transfer fee and his wages are affordable, but for now there has not been any definitive movement.
Sources close to the player admit they’re keeping their options open and don’t deny reaching out to Barça despite there being no official offer. Barça also assure that they like the player, but it would all depend on the conditions of any deal and the other business they do.
So should Arsenal still be chasing Mahrez or be moving on to other targets? In my opinion, Wenger is desperate to get any transfer deals done early so he can appease the fans before announcing Sanchez’s departure. If Arsenal is not Mahrez’s first choice, why are we even bothering?