Arsenal in Talks to Sign Riyad Mahrez as Jamie Vardy Transfer Nears Completion: Summer Signing Could Lead to Flop SalePublished June 6, 2016
Arsenal are pushing on with efforts to greatly improve their squad over the summer with The Sun claiming that the North London side are ready to follow up the imminent capture of forward Jamie Vardy with a move to sign the England international’s Leicester City team-mate Riyad Mahrez.
Arsene Wenger, often derided for not investing heavily enough in the transfer market, has already splashed the cash to bring in Swiss international Granit Xhaka and the Gunners boss is ready to dig deep again.
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The Emirates Stadium side are to pay £20m to trigger Vardy’s Foxes release clause, £6.8m of which would go to League Two side Fleetwood Town, and according to the Sun the fee to bring in Algerian international Mahrez is ‘surprisingly low’.
Indeed no source outlines precisely what that ‘low’ figure might be but it’s worth noting that Leicester City paid just £400k to bring in Mahrez from Le Havre two and a half years ago, and as such the newly crowned Premier League champions stand to make a large sum from any potential sale.
Mahrez excelled in 2015/16, finishing the season with 17 goals and 11 assists and in doing so finishing in the top five goal-scorers and assist-makers in the Premier League for the campaign.
The 25-year-old may well feel that he has achieved as much as he can at Leicester City and one wouldn’t blame the attacking midfielder for taking a chance to make a move to one of the ‘big boys’.
Arsenal fans may well temper any excitement about the possibility of signing Mahrez with the knowledge that their club possesses a great many creative midfield talents and would point to other genuine problem areas that are in much more need of fixing.
The club could well do with a strong tough tackling defensive midfielder and may well do better to chase Leicester City’s N’Golo Kante. Arsene Wenger could also do with signing another central defender, a more reliable partner for the near flawless Laurent Koscielny.
The acquisition of Mahrez will apparently then lead to the sale of Theo Walcott, with West Ham leading the chase for the Arsenal man, and such a departure is not only long overdue it’s also one that most fans will happily celebrate.
Walcott has flattered to deceive for far too long and after a decade plus at Arsenal it’s no surprise that Arsene Wenger would be looking to sell off the player before any sell-on value evaporates completely.
Arsene Wenger saw veteran midfielders Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini leave Arsenal over the summer and whilst the departure of the trio netted zero funds, all three seeing out their contracts, their exits will help to reduce the club’s wage-bill as all three players were high earners.
A number of others could be heading towards the Emirates Stadium exit with Wenger having to consider the futures of a number of players who have either failed to impress or simply find themselves far down the pecking order.
Defender Calum Chambers has found himself the subject of exit talk with the Daily Mirror claiming a move back to Southampton could be on the cards.
Full-back Kieran Gibbs found first-team chances few and far between with Nacho Monreal proving very solid and the England international is said to be a Liverpool target.
Leicester City’s shock Premier League title triumph will no doubt result in all the ‘major players’ putting in an extra push to improve their squads for the season ahead.
New managers at Man United, Man City and Chelsea will result in big transfer funds being handed to Messrs Mourinho, Guardiola and Conte and as such Wenger can not afford to fall behind.
Tottenham are sure to hand Mauricio Pochettino a fair sum given the White Hart Lane side’s return to the Champions League and the coming season could be Wenger’s last chance to end the club’s Premier League title drought before his tenure at Arsenal comes to an abrupt end.