Mahrez criticised: Should Arsenal’s Wenger defend him if Leicester is at fault?

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted that he knows the story behind Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez recent spat with his club, but decided to keep reasonably quiet.

The Algerian international has been strongly linked with moves away from the Walkers Stadium in recent transfer windows, but has not been allowed to exit the club despite him supposedly handing in a transfer request on more than one occasion.

Mahrez was key in helping the Foxes to lift the Premier League title in the 2015-16 campaign, and was rightfully nominated as the PFA Premier League Player of the Year in that season, and those performances put him right in the limelight, and attracted plenty of interest from potential suitors.

Clubs were believed to have come in with attempts to pry him from Leicester, and at the time, it was claimed that an agreement was made with the hierarchy that should he agree to stay, he would be granted his wish the following summer should the right offer come in for him.

The following 12 months did not go as well for the star, and interest is thought to have been minimal in the summer, and he didn’t get his desired move to a top club. but he has smashed his way back into form this season, and Manchester City came in with two big offers for him come January, and he was refused his exit.

RM moved to once again hand in a transfer request in the dying days of the transfer window upon knowledge of the interest from Pep Guardiola’s side, but his club played hard-ball  and ended up failing to agree his sale, despite a reported offer in excess of £60 Million.

If Mahrez did in fact have agreement with his club that he could move if the right offer came in, and that was then rejected, surely more fingers should be pointed at the club?

Wenger hinted today that you would hope that all clubs and players would ‘behave well’, whereas much of the talk recently has all been around the player’s unprofessionalism, hinting that he knows more on the subject than those reporting, and naming the club as also misbehaving.

If Mahrez was promised a move, are the club getting their just deserves? Should Wenger not defend the player if he knows that the club is also in the wrong?

Pat J


Tags Leicester mahrez Wenger


  1. Mahrez is at fault. He signed a contract and should respect it. If he wants out that bad then he should pay up his contract and leave! Just what exactly does he expect to be done in February now.

  2. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Definitely not our business, Wenger shouldn’t get involved.

    1. jon fox says:

      Correct Kenny! So why DOES he always stick his vulgar nose in business that does not concern our club, who employ him to manage US properly? If he spent half as much time trying to put our joke defence right as he does pontificating about other clubs business we might not be in the defensive plight we are in. BTW, the answer to my own question above is because of his own mighty ego. He thinks people care about what he says. I only care about what he DOES, or more correctly DOESN’T DO, to put our own mess right.

      1. zTOM says:

        Because he’s being asked questions about it, Einstein.
        So, yes, journalists (and their readers) very much care about what he thinks otherwise they wouldn’t be asking his opinion of so many varied subjects.

        1. jon fox says:

          zTOM, he talks constantly about all sorts of things that don’t concern him, whether or not he is first asked for his opinion. Perhaps you do not watch closely enough?

          1. zTOM says:

            I do, which is why I mentioned that the journos like to ask him questions on varied subjects in the general realm of football.
            That’s the point.

          2. GB says:

            Very good point zTOM, he was asked the question and more or less said it’s not my business and didn’t answer. And yes he is usually open and speaks his mind when asked a question.

          3. JJPawn says:

            People who attack Wenger are silly.

            Wenger is asked many questions, and he has a sensible answer. That leads to clicks = money.

            Besides, Wenger is the most senior manager… not only in England, but maybe the world.

          4. Ken 1945 says:

            Sounds as if you were brought up like me.
            If someone asks you a question you answer truthfully.Your point about him being asked questions across the board is correct.
            The man is a walking book of knowledge and I am proud how his charm, wit and personality is acknowledged sll over the footballing world and helps promote our club.
            KennyRolfe is absolutely correct in saying it doesn’t concern us, but the man was asked the question and he answered. end of story (or is it).

          5. zTOM says:

            Exactly! 🙂

          6. jon fox says:

            Ken , It is naive to say what you did “if someone (in football) asks you a question you answer truthfully”. This is a noble and old school thought which in the football world of decades ago would have been valid. But you appear to be like Wenger in not allowing that times have moved on- not for the better, I grant you – in honesty, manners and decency. Wenger is indeed old school for good and bad. Old school often means charm,decency and good manners all of which Wenger has in spades, when he wants to show them (though many times NOT when he is asked an arkward question about his own teams deficiencies – he is rarely so charming then). But he and you must recognise that whether we want to or not -and I personally don’t – we live in an angry, fast moving, “want answers now” world, not just in football either and IF any manager is to thrive and keep up with younger, perhaps more brash ones, who are modernised, then old methods and yesterdays ways , sadly, just don’t cut it. If you want all the power, prestige and freedom (til now) that Wenger has had in being Arsenal manager and a huge salary with it, he either modernises or “dies.” He is well aware how journos often set traps for managers, players, even administrators and journalism too is a generally far less honourable profession that when we were both young. There are of course notable exceptions to this rule BUT they are the exceptions only. My real beef with Wenger is that he wants yesterdays world but todays prestige, salary and total ” I run the whole place” control, a la Busby, Shankly, Ramsey and Clough (though I do not compare his personality in ANY way to Clough). All those men in todays world would have to change or die as managers. Wenger seems to want it all ways and I say that is not, nowadays, possible. Goodness knows , enough of us for so very long have been calling on him to modernise, reject purely romantic ideas of playing for more practical ones , but he always refuses. He is the only architect of his own downfall, which I believe will finally happen this May. Lastly, I would love to spend a week in his company just talking and listening, BUT I still do not want him as our manager, in todays world.

          7. JJPawn says:

            Without Wenger Arsenal would be Arsenil.

            Just understand branding power, and you will understand Wenger’s global appeal.

            Too many English fans think highly of Jack Wilshere, but less of Wenger!

      2. Islander Giwa says:

        Too rude. He was asked. Moreso, he didn’t condemned neither the club nor the club. So why ?

      3. Kola says:

        ..agree with you 100%.

        1. Ken 1945 says:

          So Kola,
          You don’t agree with honesty, decency and manners?
          What is it you do agree with, dishonesty, ill manners and indecency?
          Then I can understand why you want Wenger out.
          Who shall we have instead?
          Sam Allerdyce?
          Sven Erickson?
          Mourinho? (eye gouging)
          George Graham? (ironically a great Arsenal manager)
          Arsenal Football Club has ALWAYS been upheld as the icon of a superbly run club.
          It supporters have always been seen as one of the fairest in the country.
          Don’t believe all this rubbish about having to follow the rest and change your values because every one else has.
          That’s why the media. pursue us, because we don’t confirm to their agenda.
          That is why I will stand up against the bullying tactics used to belittle our club and manager.
          Wenger has made/will make mistakes and he is not God. But please treat him with the respect he deserves as I am sure he would you, if you ever met him.

          1. Betty swallocks says:

            Spot on Ken ?

  3. Neil C says:

    THe owners made a stand against a top6 club who thought they could bully their way in for cheap. Leicester owners made decision to potentially lose money to make a point to players and other clubs. He was happy to increase his wages. Blame the agent for not having a buyout clause like Kante did. Mahrez will struggle to leave in the summer now as his antics will put off other teams

  4. Godswill says:

    This is not our story. We did go for him this January. We got all our men but the CB.
    Am happy we got those two players and got rid of some.

  5. zTOM says:

    “If Mahrez did in fact have agreement with his club that he could move if the right offer came in”
    The right offer didn’t come in, which is why he wasn’t sold?
    Also, any mid-season sale would naturally have to be much more important than a Summer one given the higher difficulty of finding a replacement and the negative impact it would definitely have on the team.

  6. Innit says:

    Wenger should Not get involved
    And should focus on us
    But i think Leicester want too much for him

    Also, it was wrong for Leicester to Fire Claudio Ranieri after he led them to win the Premier League. They should be ? kissing his ?to please him, not giving him the sack. The odds of Leicester winning the PL was so low, i wish i could go back in time and bet everything on them

    1. GB says:

      Read it again, Wenger did not get involved. In fact it’s a shit article that has nothing to do with us either!!

      1. JJPawn says:

        It matters not that it is a “shit” article.

        What matters is that those who hate Wenger will believe anything that can be used against him.

        We live in foolish times.

  7. Marko says:

    This is getting petty now. Leicester wanted a figure closer to £90m for a player that was PFA player of the year, reached Champions League quarter final, and possibly one of the best one-on-one players in recent times. You then have inflated prices from Van Dyke & Coutinho; Marhez having a better goals/assists than the latter in the last three seasons.

    Mahrez needs to grow up and honor his contract full-stop. I feel bad the media seem to be blaming Leicester when all they’re doing it getting the right price for him. You wouldn’t sell Hazard, De Bruyne, Coutinho below their potential value, even when they’ve had bad seasons, why should Leicester? If Mahrez was already in a top 4 club, all of a sudden £90m for him would probably look like the right price. Football is unfair.

  8. Craig Bird says:

    Mahrez should be angry at his agent for not having a release clause in his new contract which he was happy to sign. Players can’t have it all ways. Leicester are not at fault if the offers they received did not meet their valuation in the current market.
    Would you sell your house to a big developer if they offered you the same amount as a house across the street which isn’t as good?
    Man City spent almost £60m on an unproven centre half from a mid table team in Spain. Then offer the same amount for a player who can unlock the tightest of defences, has a great goalscoring and assist record, was Player of the Year in 2016 when he also won the title with Leicester.
    We talk about players having too much power and when a club holds its ground agains one of the big boys they are criticised for doing so.
    If Mahrez feels he’s hard done by he should visit the local Leicester Childrens Hospital and see just how lucky he is to be a professional footballer.

    1. jon fox says:

      Well said! Top players and their groteque greed are now , effectively, often the enemy of our sport, us fans too and their ghastly agents should crawl back under the stones where they live. We are in the grips of corporate giants throught the world and as an honourable sport it is dying. Just ghastly, rapacious big businesses which cares nothing for values, decency , fairness, ordinary fans and only for more and still more obscene levels of filthy lucre. Kroenke is a typical example of this filth but is just one among so many. WEEP!

  9. jon fox says:

    Other clubs business is of no interest to me and this should be an Arsenal site only. What Wenger thinks about Mahrez, music, literature, or gardening is equally uninteresting and totally irrelevant to an Arsenal site. HAD WE BEEN POSSIBLE BUYERS OF MAHREZ THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT BUT WE ALL KNOW, SURELY, THAT WAS NEVER ON THE CARDS AT THE PRICE LEICESTER WANT. Meanwhile, back on Planet Arsenal, why is it that no proper stories ever appear about Wenger doing something about replacing the catastrophic Xhaka with a proper CDM? I will answer my own rhetorical question by saying it is because all respected journos everywhere know full well there is not a cat in hell’s chance of Wenger EVER doing what he should have done a decade ago and ever since, by bringing in a DCM who is any good. Just incompetence, stupidity , laziness or deliberate sabotage? Thoughts please?

  10. Ken 1945 says:

    Arsene was asked a question and he replied in his normal and polite manner.
    Also thought his little dig about english players and diving was brilliant just before our game against Spuds!!
    Why he was being asked the Mahrez question anyway is a mystery.
    It’s not our concern at the moment, but might change if Leicester do decide to transfer list him.
    Have a sneaking feeling there could be be interest from our club, otherwise why would Wenger state he knows a little of what is going on there?

    1. zTOM says:

      I suppose the journos asked about Mahrez as we’ve been linked with him many times before?
      They will certainly link us with Mahrez this Summer regardless of whether or not we actually go for him I ‘d say. 🙂

      1. Ken 1945 says:

        I agree.
        By the way, Einstein was a clever man you know, but didn’t have as many diplomas etc and couldn’t speak numerous languages as Wenger has/does.

    2. jon fox says:

      If , as I strongly doubt, there was ever any intention to try for Mahrez, that ship has long since sailed and Wenger must know that better than anyone. So why not politely sidestep a trap question, as a more astute and less egotistical manager would in that circumstance. We all know journos ask trap questions to try to concoct a story just to then deny it a day or two later, thus getting a non -story to provide copy for a few days. Wenger also knows that tactic quite well but always gives his opinions on things that are not his , or our club(and his employers) business. A shame then he does not spend any time even reflecting why our defence and DCM is so awful. The DCM has been a sick joke since Gilberto left a decade ago. THIS is what Wenger SHOULD be worrying about but nothing is ever done. Face facts, Ken, the man is totally unfit for purpose to manage at top level in the 21st century, with so many more modern thinking and modern method managers as his main rivals.

    3. Kenny Rolfe says:

      I must say in Wenger’s defence that the media do seem to go to him whenever their’s a controversial issue but in certain circumstances like other teams problems he should just put them straight and tell them it’s not he’s business

  11. Innit says:

    Mahrez would def be a real catch for a Premier League club. I hope he goes abroad. I don’t want top club to get him. We have already improved United by trading them Alexis. I wouldn’t mind getting Mahrez (even though we don’t need him) just so that a top PL doesn’t get him LOL

    As mentioned above, he has experience playing in the PL, experience winning the PL, played in CL for one season and both scores goals and creates assists. Hes not too old either. Can play both attacking midfielder and winger pisitionse.

    If Wenger had gone for Mahrez, I would not have complained. Very good player. He would have fit us perfectly. But Im very hapoy with Mkhitaryan even after only one match.

    1. Innit says:

      Sorry for loads of spelling mistakes. Im using a crappy mobile innit

      1. jon fox says:

        Innit, no need at all to apologise as you always use words well , and make your points well. It is irrelevant that I sometimes disagree with your comments(but often I agree too) I also wish Wenger had gone in for Mahrez, when there was a chance to land him at prices we would pay, which has now long gone, esp with attacking players we have just bought. I just wish he would ever do something to replace the awful Xhaka and put the whole defence right too.

  12. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Excellent debate guys and respect from everyone involved, this is what makes the Just Arsenal website the forum it is.

    1. Phil says:

      Totally agree Kenny.Ive kept out of this one as it has absolutely nothing to do with Arsenal.Wenger should have said exactly that

  13. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter says:

    I have seen the interview on u tube and Arsene Wenger answered the question posed with class. That is not to say that I don’t agree with other posters in my frustration with Wenger giving his opinion on issues not related to his position as manager of Arsenal. I also wish that he would give his attention to coaching the defense, or allowing Steve Bould to do what he is paid for.
    However it is natural that journalists will question a very senior and experienced manager like Arsene Wenger about general issues in football.
    My personal opinion after dealing with journalists over 40 years as a professional Civil Engineer and project manager, in both the public and private sectors, is that many of them insult the so called “profession” to which they claim to belong. Some I have met are lower than a snake’s duodenum!

  14. JJPawn says:

    Mahrez is asking if others have gone before him, it is not his turn now, especially given the gentlemen’s agreement.

    Wenger’s opinion matters because he is one of two or three top managers interested in deploying Mahrez. It also serves the club’s interests as Mahrez sees that Wenger is being fair, as do other players. That is plus for those wanting to join Arsenal.

  15. mark says:

    Apparently he didn’t have a release clause and he really should have put in this transfer request earlier in the window. It sounds like he has screwed up, but if he wants to leave the club should really enable that rather than keep a disgruntled player. After all, if they wanted rid he would be in the shop window regardless of contract.

    Too much power in the hands of clubs.

Comments are closed