Leicester City Talisman Desperate to Join Arsenal in £35m Deal Despite Keen Interest From Roma
Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez is believed to be eager to leave the club this summer, with Arsenal thought be to his favoured destination. Roma have also expressed a desire to sign the Algerian international, however Foxes' boss Craig Shakespeare revealed that an offer from the Serie A side had been turned down as it hadn't met the club's valuation of the player.
According to reports from the Sun, Mahrez has informed the King Power Stadium hierarchy that he wishes to pursue a new challenge, and that he is prepared to wait until the dying moments of the transfer window to secure a move. The Gunners are thought to be willing to part with around £35m to sign the 26-year old, who joined Leicester as a Championship side in 2014.
The transfer of Mahrez to Arsenal could be dependent on further comings and goings at the club this summer. The ongoing transfer saga of Alexis Sánchez continues to rage on, and the uncertainty of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's future also means that a move for Mahrez is delayed. Wenger is unlikely to sign Mahrez if at least one of these players doesn't leave the club.
The North London side are also believed to be in the running to sign Monaco's highly-rated winger Thomas Lemar, who may be enough to satisfy Wenger's desire to freshen up his side ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign. Arsenal have already spent big on a player this summer, bringing in Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette on a club record fee of £45m.
Mahrez starred in the Foxes' Champions League campaign last season. The fiery forward contributed four goals and two assists before the side eventually succumbed to Atletico Madrid in the quarter-final. However, Mahrez personified that club's was inability to produce the goods in the league, scoring just six goals in 36 matches - 11 less than in the glorious 2015/16 season.
The anticlimactic effect of being crowned the 2015/16 Premier League champions against odds of 5000-1 had a huge impact on the side last season. Charismatic boss Claudio Ranieri was sacked in February, as his side sat near the bottom of the table. Foxes' fans will be resigned to Mahrez leaving, but will be keen for the club to reinvest his transfer fee in a new star player.